Trees are an important environmental asset, however the council recognises that in some instances they may contribute to the subsidence of a building.

Where an application is made to fell a protected tree (one subject to a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) or located in a Conservation Area), due to concerns about alleged subsidence, it is important that adequate information is included to demonstrate that:

  • the subsidence has actually taken place
  • investigation has been undertaken to show the effect of the tree
  • reasonable alternatives to felling have been considered

Application documents where subsidence is alleged

The following information should be included:

  • engineers report on assessment of damage to building
  • plan and profile of foundations
  • full details of all areas of damage attributed to the subsidence including location plan of building in relation to trees both on and adjacent to the property
  • soil analysis – including proof of desiccation, details of liquid and plastic limits taken from both a trial pit and control pit
  • tree root identification & analysis  from beneath foundation level
  • monitoring results preferably for 6 months or more, including level monitoring
  • details of any drainage report carried out for the property
  • details of previous underpinning or relevant building works to the property
  • the range of alternatives considered and estimated costs, including a comparison between scenarios in which the tree is retained or felled)

In some cases officers may ask for further information such as:

  • details of vegetation in the vicinity and its management since discovery of the damage
  • a plan showing the vegetation and affected building
  • the location and identification of roots found - where identification is inconclusive, DNA testing should be carried out

For private individuals who have concerns regarding alleged subsidence and TPO trees, please email