Baroness sues over tree roots

Baroness James of Holland Park – novelist PD James – is taking the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to the High Court with a £77,000 damages claim over tree root damage to her home in Holland Park Avenue, London. She is suing the council for alleged negligence, nuisance and breach of statutory duty after subsidence to her home, which she claims was caused by roots from a plane tree planted in the pavement. She alleges that the roots encroached on to her land, taking water and moisture from the foundations. Underpinning work to the house is said to have cost £59,181.96. With the engineer's and site investigator's fees, the total cost is said to be £77,908.57. The council is accused of failing to inspect the tree properly, failing to monitor its growth, failing to take root samples and failing to heed the size to which the tree had grown. No date has been fixed for hearing of the action. The claim has been brought under section 96(7) of the Highways Act 1980. The solicitors acting for the baroness are Lawrence Graham of London EC3.