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April Talk

Brockenhurst and District Probus welcomed Mark Hinsley, a professional arboriculture consultant, with 50 years of practical experience specialising in tree liability surveys. 


Trees are protected by several laws in the UK including the Town and Country Planning Act and the Forestry Act. Tree Preservation Orders (TPO) are made by a local planning authorities in England to protect specific trees, groups of trees or woodlands in the interests of amenity. TPOs should be used to protect selected trees and woodlands only if their removal would have a significant negative impact on the local environment and its enjoyment by the public. The aim is to prevent cutting down, topping, lopping, uprooting, wilful damage and wilful destruction of protected trees.


There has been a significant public outcry when large numbers of mature trees have been destroyed by councils and contractors operating under the guise of development and improvement plans. Rather than cutting down trees a far more environmentally sustainable, and cost effective, approach is the removal and transplant of mature trees within a development. This centuries old approach is well proven and a process which many modern day developers ignore. 


Living in the New Forest conservation area, many members have trees on, or adjacent to, their property. Much discussion took place on the consent required for trimming, pruning and removal of trees that are either unsafe or a nuisance. Any tree overhanging your property, and causing damage, can be trimmed back. Whilst cutoffs remain the property of the tree owner they should not be dumped back on their land without their permission. This is categorised as fly tipping!


Property subsidence due to adjacent trees can be a problem. When tree roots enter a shrinkable, clay soil, they can take up sufficient moisture to cause the clay to dry and shrink. As a result, any foundation built upon the clay may move or subside. Long, hot, dry summers, and poor original property foundations, can exacerbate the problem. 


Over the last 10 years domestic subsidence claims have cost the insurance industry £140M - £400M annually. A significant proportion of these claims relate to the influence of trees and other vegetation.

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