A strange encampment has been spotted in Highgate, not travellers, not hippies, but SHIFT, Stop Home Insurers Felling Trees. They are trying to protect four oak trees on the edge of Queen’s Wood. The Insurance Company, AXA, insists that cracking is a house and extension, which has been built up to the boundary of the wood, is caused by the trees and the only way to stop any subsidence is to fell the trees. Result uproar, and such witty slogans as “Don’t AXA Our Trees”.
We note that in the Highgate Neighbourhood Plan, voted on and accepted by the good people of Highgate, Policy OS2 is designed to Protect Trees and Mature Vegetation. It states that “Within the conservation areas, or when protected by a TPO, specimen, veteran and mature trees and mature vegetation, which have townscape, ecological or amenity value should be retained where possible.”
These trees are part of the ancient woodland that is Queen’s Wood. Felling them would have knock on effects on the trees and habitat further into the woods and, of course would open up the possibilities for further insurance demands to fell trees from the many other properties bordering the woods.
We have supported the movement to save the trees by writing formally to the Council, circulating the HNF Tree Group and using our experience to inform them.
At the moment it is all on hold, till 16th October, while Haringey, whose trees they are, and AXA try to find a solution. We are hoping that a further independent report will either demonstrate that the trees are not responsible for the cracking or that sme sort of tree root protection will be put in place.
Watch this Space.
Haringey’s Draft Tree Policy
This movement has help our work for trees in Highgate. It has pushed trees up the Council’s agenda by demonstrating the commitment local communities have to their trees. We hope to pressure Haringey to actually adopt their Draft Tree Strategy and, once adopted, to actually ensure that it is followed. What we would ideally like to see is an Enviromental Policy, including the Tree Policy, embedded in all their decision making. Then Highways and Planning, among others would have to take trees into account when they fashion new policies or make any decisions.
Haringey also seem to have designated a specific Planning Officer to look at tree applications and she is actually consulting with the Tree Officers.
If you would like to contact the HNF Tree Group, please e-mail Louise at firstname.lastname@example.org.