Confusion mounts between councils and insurers

Innovation Group has warned of growing confusion between insurers and local authorities in its March Technical Bulletin.

It suggests that felling trees is too often attributed to insurers trying to manage subsidence claims, but in many cases that is not the driving factor and better communication between local authorities, insurers and the general public could help to accelerate claims management.

However, the climate crisis has left many believing that the environmental impact of removing trees is too great a price to pay, when in actual fact leaving problematic trees in place could ultimately create an even larger carbon footprint in the long run.

The Bulletin said, “The most effective way to remedy subsidence is to mitigate the cause of damage by removing trees or repairing drains. However, as the effects of climate change and the benefits trees bring in relation to the environment are becoming more widely recognised, removing trees, particularly third-party trees, is becoming more contentious and time consuming.

“If trees cannot be removed this has the effect of increasing average claim cost as underpinning or root barriers are needed to stabilise the building. In addition, if tree removal is delayed then durations are likely to extend which will also impact on cost.”

Underlining its point, it continued, “One tonne of reinforced concrete can generate 180kg of CO2, in contrast a tree sequestrates about 22kg of CO2 a year. An underpinning scheme might use 25 m3 of concrete (which is approximately 60 tonnes = 10,800 kg of CO2) or about two acres of new forest for a year.”


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