I’ve had a number of constituents get in touch over recent weeks about their concerns over mature tree felling. They’re concerns which I share and last week I visited Tile Kiln Lane to meet with local residents concerned about the removal of trees and part of the wall to install car parking spaces for Thames Water. I’ve also raised concerns about tree felling in Bluebell Woods and Parkland Walk with Haringey Council.
In April 2021 I was elected as a Vice Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Woods and Trees.
Here are some of the wider actions I’ve been taking in Parliament and locally to protect our precious trees.
- Last year, four oak trees in Queens Wood came under threat from AXA Insurance Company following subsidence damage.I visited the site and raised the matter with the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs through a Written Parliamentary Question. I asked what steps the Government is taking to incentivise home-owners to remedy subsidence damage from trees by underpinning their homes rather than felling mature trees which are vital in helping tackle climate change.’ (Written questions and answers – Written questions, answers and statements – UK Parliament).
- The response recommended engaging with DEFRA’s England Tree Strategy consultation, and I sent this letter to Zac Goldsmith highlighting the importance of protecting trees in urban environments, particularly where they are at risk due to construction and building developments, or due to subsidence claims. I received this response.
- I contacted the Chief Executive of Haringey Council to encourage them as members of the London Tree Officers Association (LTOA | The London Tree Officers Association | the professional & technical voice for London’s trees & woodlands) to become signatories of the Joint Mitigation Protocol which is used for managing subsidence claims where trees are identified as a causal agent. According to the Woodland Trust and LTOA website, the Protocol has had success in retaining trees that have recognised for public benefit. I’ve been advised that Haringey Council would look into the possibility of signing up to the Protocol as part of the development of their new Trees and Woodland Management Plan.
- There does appear to be a growing problem of house insurance companies requiring Councils to fell trees which they believe are undermining the structure of buildings or become liable for the cost of the works to the property. I am pleased that Cllr Kirsten Hearn as Cabinet Member for the Climate Change, Equalities & Leisure has advised that Haringey Council are working with council lawyers and insurance teams to see what action can be taken to challenge this current state of affairs. She has my full support.
- This week I have submitted the following Written Parliamentary Questions:
– To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department are taking to reduce the number of trees felled in urban areas where they obstruct building construction and development.
– To ask the Sec of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department are taking to reduce the number of trees being felled in urban areas.
– To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what data is collected on the number of trees felled each year due to claims of subsidence damage to nearby buildings.
– To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department are taking to reduce the number of mature trees felled each year due to claims of subsidence damage to nearby buildings.
– To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department are taking to encourage tree planting in urban areas.
- In my speech responding to Rishi Sunak’s recent Budget, I highlighted the need for a green economic recovery