Veteran tree felling paused after five-day Extinction Rebellion occupation

Man in wooly hat sitting in a plane tree below a hammock strung up between two branches.

Marcus Carambola slept in the plane tree for four nights to stop it from being felled. - 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.

People gathered on pavement under plane tree in north London with green extinction rebellion banner

Haringey Council said: "The technical evidence we have received supports the requirement for this tree to be removed as it is causing damage to the adjoining properties." - Credit: Clive Carter

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.

Long shot of a group of people across the road on a residential street gathered on the pavement underneath a plane tree

The plane tree, which is owned by Haringey Council, had two insurance claims against it from adjoining properties. - Credit: Clive Carter

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.

Group of 10 people and a dog gathered underneath a tree on the pavement.

Residents, councillors and activists gathered to hear about why the council wanted to fell the veteran tree. - Credit: Clive Carter

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."