Veteran tree felling paused after five-day Extinction Rebellion occupation
- Credit: Clive Carter
Extinction Rebellion activists and residents occupied a 100-year-old tree in Haringey for five days in a bid to save it from being felled by the council, and the plan has now been paused.
One activist, Marcus Carambola of Tottenham, slept in his hammock amongst the branches of the plane tree on Oakfield Road, Stroud green, from Sunday to Wednesday. The tree was due to be felled on Monday, April 11.
"It was a very important thing to do," Marcus said of his occupation.
The plane tree, which is owned by Haringey Council, had two insurance claims against it "owing to the subsidence and structural damage it is causing to an adjoining property or properties".
A council spokesperson said: “If the tree remains and these adjoining properties are underpinned, we could be facing a high-value insurance claim in excess of £400,000.
"The technical evidence we have received supports the requirement for this tree to be removed as it is causing damage to the adjoining properties."
However, Marcus argued that Haringey Council makes decisions "too quickly", and felt he had to occupy the tree until a compromise was reached. "There needs to a solution where we have trees and homes," he said.
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During his occupation, Marcus said that "huge numbers of people", including tree officers and councillors and local people "from all around" came to chat with Marcus and offer support, and sometimes food. They took it in turns to occupy the tree.
But late on Wednesday night (April 13), the Extinction Rebellion activists were relieved to receive a message from the council saying they have decided to keep the tree for another month so that the community gets a chance to have more consultation with the council and insurance companies.
On Thursday, Marcus returned to the tree to retrieve his belongings. But he left the XR banner on display.
A Haringey Council spokesperson said: “We appreciate and understand the strength of feeling the felling of trees invokes among some residents in our borough.
“In the vast majority of cases, we only remove trees that are either dead, diseased or dying."