Tree preservation group win against insurance company

Mature Lime tree. Photo: Miss Steel

Mature Lime tree. Photo: Miss Steel

Hackney Council issued a Tree Preservation Order after a local campaign group worked relentlessly to save a row of mature and rare trees from being felled by Zurich Insurance Group.

The campaigners, coined the ‘Crabtrees’, are a group of neighbours from Cranwich Road in Hackney. The group was formed over 10 years ago; they have worked relentlessly over the years to preserve the trees and wildlife in their area.

In this particular case, the Crabtrees succeeded in their battle against Zurich. The insurance company applied for the felling of a row of mature limes and rare poplar trees, claiming they caused the gradual caving in or sinking of the land.

Sally Haywill, a member of the group, said: “I had become increasingly fed up at having to rush out when I heard a chain saw – that was often the first we knew about a tree being felled. We are busy people, with day jobs and young children to care for. It took many years for the Tree Preservation Order to be placed, despite repeated requests.”

With the Tree Preservation Order issued, the area will now be underpinned, a process that involves laying a solid foundation below ground level to support the structures above.

Despite their success, the Crabtrees continue on in their efforts. Claiming that a third of the mature trees between Cranwich and Bethune Road have been felled in the past 15 years, the group is currently working to save the trees in Allens Garden, a green space hidden away behind Bethune Road in Stoke Newington.

The team of campaigners have fostered lasting friendships and a strong community spirit through their hard work. Haywill said: “We formed Crabtrees, became good friends, and set about trying to inform local people of the value of trees. We held ‘Tree Walks’, ‘Bat Walks’, Tree Quizzes, meetings, put on an exhibition, leafletted, petitioned, talked, and met over many years.”

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