It is clear that government policy on climate change is going to lead to changes when it comes to subsidence claims.
The big question is how will the UK Government’s “net-zero by 2050” initiative impact the subsidence industry more broadly? There are many variables to consider, but in this article, we highlight a few of the issues that may come into play.
To align with a greener and more sustainable future, the idea of mitigating subsidence by way of tree removal is likely to become far less popular and much less acceptable. With this in mind, experts in the field are considering innovative ways to mitigate without the need to lose our increasingly important trees. It’s a ‘catch 22’ situation in that tree removal contributes to climate change and climate change contributes to the need to remove more trees.
As a side note, at Crawford, we have a policy of planting a tree for each tree that we deem needs to be removed to combat subsidence.
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Geo-engineered solutions such as reducing a tree’s water demand by use of Ascorbic Acid (“drought hormone”) and changing the DNA of cohesive clay soils by way of electro-kinesis (to reduce its shrink/swell capacity) are just two potential mitigation measures of the future. With Dubai now using drone technology to carry out “cloud seeding” in order to combat extreme heat and low rainfall, it seems that geoengineering might play an important role in the ongoing fight against climate change.
Whilst there are futuristic developments at play, it is also speculated that perhaps a step back in time might also serve to reduce the volume of trees being removed in the name of “subsidence”. The subsidence peril celebrates its 50th birthday this year however, for those who can remember a time before that, there is talk of resilience and a common-sense approach to minor, seasonal cracking in homes.
Will the time come when policies are rolled back to pre-1971 when subsidence didn’t exist as an insurable peril or will policies be tailored for known “hotspots” to selectively remove the peril or increase deductibles to make the prospect of a claim much less attractive?
Whatever the future holds for subsidence, Crawford offers innovative solutions to mitigation, repair and recovery, with the significant benefit of having a law firm embedded within a brand trusted by insurers, brokers and corporations for 80 years.
If you would like to find out more please contact:
Partner, Crawford Legal Services UK
Head of Subsidence Operations, Crawford UK