Damage caused by trees

Find out how to report incidents involving damage caused by Council owned trees.

Separate guidance is available for trees on private land.

Tree emergencies

If you spot an emergency such as a fallen tree blocking a road or pavement, please contact us immediately.

You can report a problem online, or contact us on 020 8891 1411.

Tree-related subsidence

This is fairly rare in Richmond upon Thames as most of the borough has gravel-based 'non-shrinkable' soil.

If you believe your property has been affected, you should instruct your insurers to contact us. Let them know that we follow the approach outlined in the London Tree Officers Association Joint Mitigation Protocol.

Tree root damage

Trees can cause damage through physical contact between roots and lightly loaded structures such as boundary walls and driveways.

Report direct root damage to your property

We advise against cutting tree roots as this may affect the tree's health and stability. An arboriculturalist will be able to provide advice on the best course of action. Find an Arboricultural Associations Approved Consultant.

If a Council owned tree is covered by a Tree Preservation Order, or if it stands in a Conservation Area an application will be required before root pruning can take place. Find out more about protected trees and what steps to take.

Blocked drains

Tree roots will not physically break into a water pipe that is in good working order. However, tree roots are opportunistic and if a pipe has fallen into a state of disrepair and leaks water then tree roots are likely to exploit the fault. Then, when repairs are required, a mass of tree roots often leads to the blame being placed with a nearby tree.

If you are experiencing problems with tree roots and drains, contact your water service provider, who will be able to advise the best course of action.

Damage to pavements

If you believe a root from a street tree is affecting the pavement by causing areas to rise, please report it. The Highways department will then investigate and take action as necessary. It is not our policy to remove a tree due to uplift from roots.

You can report a problem online, or contact us on 020 8891 1411.

Damage through contact with tree parts

If your property is damaged through contact with a tree or branches, you should inform us immediately.

Report damage through contact with tree parts

Seasonal occurrences

We are unable to offer compensation for natural seasonal occurrences such as:

  • autumn leaf fall
  • spring flower petals
  • fruit fall (including conkers)
  • seed deposits
  • undigested sap or aphid droppings
  • animal nuisance, eg droppings from roosting birds

Shade or loss of light

We cannot offer compensation for damage associated with shade or loss of light caused by trees, as this is not treated as a legal nuisance.

Effect on vegetation

We cannot offer compensation for damage caused by trees influencing the growth of privately owned vegetation.

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Updated: 21 June 2017