Trees V’s Houses

Thu 25 Nov 2021

Trees V’s Houses

With the announcement of the Government’s England Trees Action Plan, we examine the pros and cons of trees when it comes to people and property.

 

Following nearly two years of restrictions and lockdowns, UK residents would certainly agree that they have found a new appreciation for nature and the great outdoors.

In a bid to capitalise on that strength of feeling and invest in rebuilding our national treescapes, the England Trees Action Plan[1] sets out the Government's long-term plan for trees, woodlands, and forests. It includes over 80 policy actions the Government intends to take to Parliament to help deliver the treescape they want to see in England by 2050 and beyond.

 

What's the plan?

To address climate and biodiversity goals that form part of a broader national objective, the Government has committed to increasing tree planting rates across the UK to 30,000 hectares per year by the end of this Parliament. They will support this ambition by spending over £500 million of the £640 million Nature for Climate Fund on trees and woodlands in England between 2020 and 2025.

Alongside planting more trees, the plan also sets out guidelines for protecting established treescapes, ancient woodlands and veteran trees that have stood for hundreds of years.

Providing protection, understanding and increased planting will require funding and partnerships with landowners, managers and charitable/volunteer organisations. The new England Woodland Creation Offer will support landowners and managers with establishing trees and woodlands as we transition into the Government's new Sustainable Farming Incentive, Local Nature Recovery and Landscape Recovery Schemes as well.

 

The positive impact of trees

The benefits of well planned, managed and utilised trees, woodlands and forests are many, but here are just a few:

  • Positive impact on reducing CO2 - Trees assist with climate change by reducing the greenhouse effect, absorbing harmful gasses from the air, including carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide and carbon monoxide.
  • Encourage biodiversity – Trees support both plant and animal life. Planting lots of different species also reduces the chance that pests, diseases, natural disasters, and other threats can drastically impact habitats.
  • Provide renewable products - Properly managed and protected, trees can provide renewable products, including timber for houses, reducing our reliance on carbon-intensive materials and importing materials.
  • Increase wellbeing – Recent experiences have taught us the power of nature in making us feel happier. Trees planted in and around urban areas provide opportunities for people to connect with and enjoy nature.
  • Help manage flood risk – Trees can help manage water quality and reduce flood risk when planted near rivers. In urban areas, trees can also reduce the pressure on the drainage system and lower the risk of surface water flooding. Research by the University of Manchester shows surface water runoff is reduced by up to 80% compared to asphalt[2].
  • Add value to property – Recent research by Shoot Gardening and Tendercare Nurseries shows that planting these trees in your outdoor space could increase your home value by as much as £8,500![3]

 

The downside of trees

Tree planting advantages are apparent, but unless you are careful about tree selection and maintenance, you may also experience serious downsides. Among the downsides of tree planting are costs, effort, care, space limitation, but the main cons in terms of a property are:

  • Subsidence- Tree roots grow outwards in their search for water, increasing the drying out of the soil in the surrounding area. This increases the likelihood of the foundations moving and causing subsidence. Subsidence claims cost insurers around £400m per year, and approximately 60 - 70% of those claims are due to the influence of trees and other vegetation[4].  
  • Risk of falling– The Met Office has written about the increase in serious weather events, such as very strong winds, rainfall and winter storms[5], the likelihood that trees surrounding your property may fall is increasing. It's advised that property owners check their trees after every weather event and seek advice if they seem unstable.
  • Cost to remove if dangerous or diseased– Unfortunately, removing trees is sometimes necessary to protect your property and other vegetation, but many trees fall under protection orders. That's why it's essential to get expert advice from a surveyor or arborist, but that comes at a price! If you remove a tree yourself, you could do more harm than good, possibly causing a condition commonly known as heave.

 

Undoubtedly, trees can add benefits to your home and our environment. But as with everything, they must be well maintained and looked after to avoid becoming a risk to your property. We may not want the problems they can bring with them for our homes, but they keep England a green and pleasant land.

We hope that the England Trees Action Plan will see that the right time, money, people, and innovations are employed to create opportunities for woods and trees that we can all enjoy for decades to come.

 

It is good practice to check your home insurance cover to make sure you are covered for damage that may be caused by trees. Whilst you are considering the safety concerns of trees close to your home, remember that Police Mutual Home Insurance has been independently top rated as a Five Star home insurance policy by Moneyfacts.

Police Mutual Home Insurance is available to serving and retired Police Officers, but it’s also available to Staff, Specials and family members of these Officers.

Find out more by phoning 0151 242 7640 or checking out online: Home Insurance | Police Mutual

Home insurance is provided by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Ltd.
Home Emergency Cover is provided by ARAG plc.

PMGI Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Financial Services Register No. 114942. Registered in England & Wales No. 1073408. Registered office: 55 Gracechurch Street, London, EC3V 0RL

For your security, all telephone calls are recorded and may be monitored.

 

 

[1] England Trees Action Plan 2021 to 2024 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

[2] trees-in-our-towns-for-water-management.pdf (woodlandtrust.org.uk) page 7, and The effect of street trees and amenity grass on urban surface water runoff in Manchester, UK - ScienceDirect

[3] The best garden trees to add thousands to your property value (loveproperty.com)

[4] palgrave.jba.2940011.pdf (springer.com)

[5] UK extreme events - Heavy rainfall and floods - Met Office and Effects of climate change - Met Office


Type of article: Articles
Category: Owning a house

Return to News and Blog