Trees and Vegetation
Where risk factors appear to be significant, and trees are close to the property, reasonable vegetation management may be appropriate. However, the pruning of trees to reduce water absorption is not considered to be a particularly effective remedy and it may be necessary to consider removal of trees where other risk factors are high.
Tree management strategies may be considered to mitigate any future risk resulting from growth. You may also want to seek advice about any future planting schemes in the area. Speak with a local tree surgeon about your options.
Tree Preservation Orders and Conservation Areas
Before undertaking any tree works it is important to investigate any legal constraints. If the trees are protected by a Tree Preservation Order, or your property is located within a Conservation Area, they can only be pruned or felled with permission from the Local Planning Authority.
What if the trees are not on my property?
If the tree is in a neighbour’s garden (owned or rented) a sensible and non-confrontational approach is advised. Endeavour to get them to seek and take appropriate action. Only if your neighbour is uncooperative should you consider escalating your request or seeking third party advice.
Council or Commercial Property
If the tree is owned by the Local Council or a business, the first step would be to write to the relevant department or the Company Secretary of the business. Your letter should remind the legal owners of their duty of care to ensure the vegetation is properly maintained.
For further help and information, download our Guide to Trees and Subsidence.
Take care to ensure that gutters, downpipes and drains are in good repair. Excess water leakage or discharge can cause soil softening beneath foundations. Older drainage systems can sometimes leak and poorly sealed joints can also allow tree roots to enter the drain; causing blockage and further leakage.
It is particularly important to carry out these inspections on older properties, where the drains are typically comprised of salt-glazed clay pipework. With this type of construction, roots entering at the pipe joints is not uncommon. This can cause a blockage and subsequent leakage in the system, where water backs up and leaks through the pipe joints.
As a minimum, it is recommended that manholes are lifted and inspected on an annual basis. If there are concerns over the integrity of the drainage system, a specialist CCTV survey can be undertaken to assess its condition