The local community in Stroud Green, North London have come together to fight council plans to fell a London Plane tree that is thought to be around 100 years old.

The tree is blamed by insurers for causing subsidence in two houses in Oakfield Rd, and because Haringey Council “own” the tree, the insurance companies can claim against the council and avoid paying out. The council in turn is faced with huge costs to underpin the affected houses, or just chop the tree down.

Protesters have seen similar claims across the borough leading to the loss of many mature trees, and are making a stand over this one, with a rota of guardians, including overnight stays in a hammock in the branches.

They’ve already seen off two attempts to fell the tree, and have been demanding a proper community meeting with council representatives to discuss possible options that would suit all parties.

The issue a much wider one than just this tree. 18 mature trees are under threat in this one street, along with another 15 on a nearby road and 200 across the Borough of Haringey.

The problem is that insurers are regularly blaming trees to avoid paying out on claims. All they have to do is show that a council-owned tree is “implicated” in damage, and they can then charge all their costs and remedies to the public instead. Many see this as a scam that needs to stop, and it’s happening all around the country too.

The Tree Protectors want the council to meet with them to discuss alternative remedies that could keep both trees and houses safe – something the council has so far failed to agree to – and they want to pressure government, insurers and local councils to come up with an urgent review of tree policies and procedures, to stop destroying a vital urban carbon defence against the climate crisis.

Watch out for further Real Media coverage of this campaign as it progresses, and find out more from the Haringey Tree Protectors where there is a petition to sign, and other ideas for ways in which everyone can help.