The Independent London Newspaper


Bleak future for trees

Published: 10 June, 2011

• THE felling yesterday (Thursday) of two magnificent London plane trees in Richmond Avenue, Barnsbury, marks a bleak day for Islington’s street trees. 

Thought to be well over 100 years old, the planes were removed in a couple of hours, setting a frightening precedent for the remainder of the avenue, and across the borough. 

Not even the council’s much-vaunted new tree policy could save them despite their removal breaching Policy 14: “We only fell trees for sound arboriculture reasons such as... proven to be causing significant structural damage.”

This was not the case in Richmond Avenue, only “very slight” subsidence to the property in question being recorded. This is the lowest official category of structural damage and can be remedied by underpinning. But the insurer, Royal Sun Alliance, wouldn’t cover the cost, a fraction of the value of the house. 

Ironically, of course, the value of the street’s properties will now be adversely affected as an area’s amenity value is reflected in its property prices. Who wants to live in a concrete desert?

Short-term selfish thinking at the expense of public amenity, environmental awareness and public health triumphed yesterday morning.

Ellington Street, N7 


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