Save the Queen's Wood Oaks


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The Issue

image: one of the oaks under threat

the story so far

  • A house just outside the Queens Wood Nature Reserve is moving on its foundations.

  • AXA, the insurance giant, is demanding that Haringey Council cut down four mature oaks in the ancient woodland, claiming that this will fix the problem.

  • AXA state that they “are not putting pressure on anyone” [1]

  • but AXA will sue Haringey for £270,0003 if their demands are not met

  • AXA say that underpinning the house will not fix the subsidence

  • but AXA would claim £270,000 of underpinning costs from Haringey council tax payers

  • AXA claim that felling four oaks is the only solution to the subsidence of the house

  • but AXA also demand Haringey fell more ancient woodland trees if it does not work

  • AXA hope to “bring some peace of mind to our policyholder” [3]

  • but AXA acknowledge that even after felling the oaks, subsidence will still continue and further work may be necessary

we say that

  • the oaks were there before the house [2]; they are a community asset, and a central part of the complex and valuable ecosystem of the ancient woodland

  • the oaks are irreplaceable: only such large old trees can support the biodiversity of the nature reserve and mitigate the climate emergency through their carbon storage

  • AXA has insured the house for decades; the subsidence risk is well known to them

  • AXA has taken the money as insurance premiums over years. They have no right to offload their liabilities onto the Council and the council-tax payers of Haringey

  • felling the oaks has only an estimated 30-40% chance of success [2]: there is then a 60-70% chance that AXA will demand further destruction of the woodland

  • AXA should open to public scrutiny the “confidential” engineering reports which they claim justifies their position

  • AXA should use their vast resources of expertise and experience to provide the home-owners and the community with a permanent engineering solution

  • this is about money and AXA’s profits: rather than finding and paying for a lasting remedy, AXA would prefer to have the community suffer the loss of the trees so that AXA can get away with some ‘making good’.

  1. Jeremy Vines show, Radio 2, Mon 27 July 2020 12:00h

  2. Professor Jeffrey Duckett, Emeritus Professor of Botany, Queen Mary University of London

  3. Hampstead and Highgate Express, “Protest blocks tree surgeons in Highgate nature reserve” Fri 17 July 2020

The Issue

image: our sign in the woods

lastest updates

The Issue

image: one of the oaks under threat

support us online

Show your support by signing our petition to stop AXA destroying ancient woodland, and by donating to our GoFundMe to help us with legal costs.

The Issue

image: protesters guarding the oaks

support us on the ground

From July 15th, we have been running a 24/7 guard of the oaks to prevent them from being harmed. The camp is lively and welcoming - join us for a visit or sign up to take shifts!

UPDATE (21/08/20): We have won a four-week stay of execution! Although we are therefore no longer camping overnight, we are still maintaining a daytime presence. We hope the Council and AXA will find an alternative solution, but if not, we will be back!

The Issue

image: clay face decorating tree bark, made by a member of the community

media attention

Our movement has received press coverage - click below to find out more.