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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. This is because roots extract moisture from shrinkable clay soils beneath foundation level.

If you suspect that trees are causing subsidence to your property, it's important to contact your home insurance provider. These trees could be council owned or on neighbouring private land.

Your insurance company will look into your concerns. They may want to investigate the damage as part of a claim.

If they believe that a tree is involved in causing the damage, they will contact the respective tree owners on your behalf.

Where a claim is made against a council owned tree, an appropriate level of evidence must be provided. This evidence will need to demonstrate that the tree is an influencing cause in the subsidence.

Where a claim is made against a protected tree, the following information is normally required:

  • engineer's report on assessment of damage to building
  • plan and profile of foundations
  • full details of all areas of damage attributed to the subsidence. This includes a location plan of the building, in relation to trees on/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 adequately consider any proposed works for an appropriate solution.