There may be nothing “so lovely as a tree” but they are costing Reading Borough Council a small fortune in compensation payouts.
And it is not just trees causing damage – someone was paid £1,000 last year for walking into a post on council land.
Getreading asked the council for details of the ten largest payments for damages from compensation claims over the past two years.
Last year Reading council paid out damages for two compensation claims of £39,000 and £26,000 for “subsidence” caused by trees.
Subsidence can happen when soil – particularly clay soils common in southern England – expands and contracts during periods of heavy rainfall or drought.
This can apply pressure to buildings, causing distortion and massive repair bills.
Tree roots, which soak up huge amounts of water, can make things worse.
For both of the past two years, Reading’s top two most expensive payouts for damages from compensation claims were to do with tree subsidence.
Falling trees and branches have cost the council more money still.
Last year it had to pay £1,721.81 because a tree branch fell on a vehicle, while the year before it paid out a total of more than £6,000 for trees falling on private property.
Tripping and slipping on council property has also led to payouts.
The following are the sums paid out in 2013/14 although some of the incidents may have happened earlier:
- £6,700.00 for subsidence caused by a street tree
- £4,820.00 for subsidence caused by a street tree
- £4,686.90 for tripping on the highway
- £4,100.00 for tripping on the highway
- £3,246.61 when a tree fell on neighbouring property
- £2,795.00 when a tree fell on neighbouring property
- £2,700.00 for a trip on a step to council premises
- £2,556.72 for a defect in a council car park
- £2,350.00 for tripping on council land
- £1,750.00 for tripping on council owned land
And in 2014/15:
- £39,000.00 for subsidence caused by a street tree
- £26,000.00 for subsidence caused by a street tree
- £14,000.00 for a slip on spillage in council premises
- £12,000.00 for a fall on a ramp to council premises
- £6,430.50 for a trip on the highway
- £5,557.00 for a trip at the entrance to council premises
- £3,342.42 for damage from a highway pothole
- £3,000.00 for a cut hand from a fence on council premises
- £1,721.81 after a tree branch fell on vehicle
- £1,000.00 walked into post on council land