Tackling tree-related subsidence in Camden

Camden’s tree population is carefully managed, and our tree maintenance and planting programme is well under way.

Our tree planting programme means that in the last three years we’ve planted an average of 475 replacement and new trees every year. This year we plan to plant more than 400 trees in the borough.

On 13 February, we start the second phase of the tree removal and replacement programme in the borough, as part of our tree management policy. This will help tackle tree-related subsidence.

We replace trees by looking for the right tree for the site from our species list, choosing more appropriate smaller species of tree.

Many parts of London are affected by tree subsidence, due to areas being built on shrinkable soil known as ‘London clay’. This shrinks when it dries and expands again when wet. Changes in temperature cause these expansions, which lead to cracks in buildings that may go unnoticed for years.

Huge parts of Camden are built on London clay. The worst affected areas are in the wards of Kentish Town, Gospel Oak, Hampstead Town, West Hampstead and Fortune Green. Older properties with shallow building foundations are the most susceptible to subsidence.

When subsidence occurs, it can cause problems:

  • investigating subsidence claims for home insurance can be a long process, as site investigations have to be made
  • repair costs can be high
  • insurance companies can be reluctant to insure property with a history of subsidence.

With tree-related subsidence, it’s sometimes necessary to remove the tree. This may be distressing for residents, as a tree can be a significant feature in the local landscape. However, our robust tree maintenance programme reduces the risk of tree-related subsidence. We can’t always replace a tree in the precise location because of underground obstructions and utilities but we will always try to replant a tree nearby to keep Camden green.

Find out more

Read more about tree removal and subsidence.

Look at our tree planting programme

Read our FAQs about trees in Camden.

Find out more about Camden

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