Taking action to tackle tree-related subsidence

Our proactive tree removal programme begins on Monday 15 February, so you may see our trees team in your local area.

This is part of our tree maintenance programme and is necessary to tackle cases of tree-related subsidence.

Why do we need to remove some trees?

A vast amount of Camden is built on shrinkable London clay, which shrinks when it dries out and expands again when wet. This can lead to cracks in buildings, which may go unnoticed for years. The worst affected wards are in the north of the borough: Kentish Town, Gospel Oak, Hampstead Town, West Hampstead and Fortune Green. Buildings most susceptible to subsidence are older properties with shallow building foundations.

When subsidence occurs, it can cause inconvenience and result in costs to residents and the Council. Investigating subsidence claims for home insurance can be a lengthy process and repair costs can be high. Insurance companies can be reluctant to insure properties with a history of subsidence. With tree-related subsidence, it is sometimes necessary to remove the tree, which we understand can be distressing for residents as a tree can be a significant feature in the local landscape.

Tree replacement

Outside of this tree removal and replacement programme, we have a tree planting programme. We plant at least 400 replacement and new trees every year, and we seek external funding to plant even more. We can’t always replace a tree in the same location because of underground utilities and obstructions, but will always try to replant nearby. We also aim to increase diversity in species and age across our stock, so that we provide the best possible habitat for wildlife.

Find out more