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Home > Planning > Development Management > Trees > Subsidence and trees

Subsidence and trees

What should I do if I suspect a tree is causing subsidence damage?

Trees close to buildings and other built structures can increase the risk of subsidence when roots extract moisture from shrinkable clay soils beneath foundation level. If you suspect that trees (council owned or on neighbouring private land) are causing subsidence to your property then it is important that you contact your home insurance provider. Your insurance company will look into your concerns and may want to investigate the damage as part of a claim. If they believe that a council or neighbours tree is implicated in the damage, they will contact the respective tree owners on your behalf.

Where a claim is made against a council owned tree the council will reasonably expect an appropriate level of evidence provided to demonstrate that the tree in question is an influencing cause in the subsidence. In the case of a preserved tree this evidence is mandatory. As a guide this information is likely to comprise the following:

  • Engineers report on assessment of damage to building
  • Plan and profile of foundations
  • Full details of all areas of damage attributed to the subsidence including location plan of building in relation to trees both on and adjacent to the property.
  • Soil analysis – including proof of desiccation, details of liquid and plastic limits taken from both a trial pit and control pit
  • Tree root identification from beneath foundation level
  • Monitoring results preferably for 12 months or more, including level monitoring
  • Details of any drainage report carried out for the property
  • Details of previous underpinning or relevant building works to the property

Without this information it is unlikely that the council will be able to take an informed view on any proposed works or an appropriate solution.