Insurers are prone to claim that trees close to buildings are a risk and on that basis to refuse or limit cover. Where there are no good reasons we deplore the loss of trees in our urban environment.
The Highgate Society has been successful in persuading Haringey to refuse an application to fell a mature and attractive monkey puzzle tree in a front garden in Southwood Avenue. The evidence did not establish that any present damage had been caused by the tree. This followed a previous unsuccessful application to fell in 2008, refused on grounds that removal would be detrimental to the visual amenity of the area. Haringey has confirmed that the tree will be protected in future by a tree preservation order (TPO) as we requested.
This is not the only such application we have seen by insurers hoping to limit the risk of future claims. In 2015 there was a successful appeal confirming Haringey’s refusal to permit the felling of a mature hornbeam in North Hill.
We hope insurers will now abandon such attempts where there is no convincing evidence that a tree has caused significant damage. Even where some damage has been caused, the onus is on insurers to choose alternative methods of limiting future damage, for example by means of root barriers.
30 September 2023