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Neighbors insurance insist I remove 150 y.o. Oak

Mr. D


I’ve recently bought a house in Northwest London, with several tall trees on property. One of them is a 20m+ oak.

One of the things we have inherited from the seller is a long standing dispute with the neighbor, whose insurance company insists that this oak is the cause of subsidence under their garage. 
in our purchase agreement, the seller provided us with funds to meet the demands of the insurance company. We convinced the insurance company to let us pollard the entire tree, rather than cut it to stump which is what they had originally demanded. 
now that we have finished the Pollard in, they insist that actually the tree needs to be reduced by half, that we remove the entire crown and cut it to the halfway point. 
As there is no proof that this tree causes sub, only their insistence of the risk of possibility, we are loathe to destroy such a majestic old tree. 
now I have received a notice saying that if I don’t respond to them with a commitment to act within the next seven days they will take legal action against us. 

unfortunately the tree is not listed or protected by our council. 
Any advice on how I can save my tree?


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I sense a expensive and protracted legal case regardless of if there is proof or not.


I would be inclined to speak to a expert on the legal matters, but I would also ask them to ensure in the event of having to remove the tree that an agreement stating they can't claim anything in the future from you/the house owner or insurance.

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Maybe an option to talk to the council about getting a TPO?


I wonder what legal action they are actually going to take, or are they just threatening? Unless they can prove you are causing the damage I don't think they have a real leg to stand on.

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31 minutes ago, neiln said:

take the tree down. 

Why do you say that Neil?

You are normally a sensible person on here.


My initial response would be to tell the insurance company to provide evidence of damage, just as RC has said above.


I will bare my arse in Burtons if they come up with any.


They won’t.


It’s a real shame you have already pollarded a tree like like this, but possibly a realistic outcome in an urban environment.


150 yr old oak v piss poor constructed garage?


They will never be good neighbours.

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because I've been the homeowner with subsidence caused by  neighbours large oak in south london, and the *&*^&%& wouldn't take his tree down for years and years and years despite arborist reports, engineers reports, testpits, bore hole soil samples with roots from his tree and showing desiccation at depth, years of crack monitoring, years of level monitoring.  So i know a 20+m oak in london on its shrinkable clay, will cause trouble for any and ALL nearby structures.  the neighbours garage, the neighbours house, other neighbours houses and the OPs house too.  I know the stress caused by a belligerent tree owner.  sorry OP, not you, if you listen!  I like trees, honest, but unfortunately a20m+ oak is too big for pretty much all suburban gardens.  its inappropriate.  that size tree does not fit there.  the roots are tresspasing and causing damage.  if the OP doesn't remove the tree, eventually the neighbour or his insurer will take him to court for the damage caused.  When i did this, my neighbour removed the tree finally.


So my best advice for the good of everyone, OP, remove the tree but ask the neighbours insurers to pay for it to be done. they will i suspect.

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oh and this years drought will cause more damage than normal...and droughts such as this are becoming more common, there is a ticking timebomb of subsidence claims coming over the next few decades.

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