Published: 08 May 2021

Threat of legal proceedings

Initially RBWM issued a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) asking that other solutions be investigated. In response to the TPO, the insurance company Direct Line, started legal proceedings. If RBWM did not grant permission to fell, Direct Line would claim compensation for loss or damage caused or incurred as a consequence. RBWM gave in and granted permission.

Alternatives not investigated

There is little evidence that alternative remedies have been properly investigated. There is also doubt about the extent to which the tree is implicated in the subsidence. In responses to the application, it was pointed out that some of the movement monitoring stations show that the movement of the building is no longer consistent with the influence of the Wellingtonia, and no effort had been made to monitor any of the cracks which are alleged to be caused by the tree.

Residents protest

A Facebook Group, #Save Datchet Tree, has been set up to challenge RBWM’s decision. They want RBWM to work with Direct Line to protect the Wellingtonia and resolve the subsidence for the home owners. These are not mutually-exclusive goals. Banners are being hung around the village and residents are writing letters of protest to RBWM and Direct Line, asking both to honour their environmental and climate commitment and find alternatives to felling the tree.

Saving this tree is within RBWM’s power

Felling this tree would detract from the natural environment and would show disregard for the intrinsic character and beauty of the riverside area and the wider benefit of its trees. A giant cedar in Windsor was saved in nearly identical circumstances. #Save Datchet Tree is simply asking that RBWM gives Datchet’s landmark Wellingtonia the same consideration.

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