Insurance warning issued over Storm Kathleen and risks of fallen trees

Which areas face the most serious safety hazards?

Insurance warning issued over Storm Kathleen and risks of fallen trees

Catastrophe & Flood

By Kenneth Araullo

As Storm Kathleen unleashes strong winds across the UK, the potential for property damage due to falling trees has significantly increased. The severity of such damage can range from minor issues to substantial structural damage, posing both financial burdens and safety concerns.'s home insurance experts have conducted an analysis to determine which areas in the UK are most vulnerable to tree-related damage. This assessment factors in urban tree canopy coverage alongside average wind speeds to identify regions at the highest risk.

Cotswold, leading with a risk score of 9.58/10, attributes its heightened risk to a combination of 26.3% tree canopy cover and an average wind speed of 28.0 kph. Derbyshire Dales, meanwhile, follows closely with a 29.8% canopy cover and an average wind speed of 26.8 kph, resulting in a risk score of 9.42.

Breckland ranks third, with a 24.9% canopy cover and 26.2 kph wind speeds, scoring 8.99. Test Valley, Mid Devon, Tunbridge Wells, Forest of Dean, West Berkshire, East Devon, and Hart also feature on the list, demonstrating varying degrees of vulnerability based on their unique environmental characteristics.

Cotswold's position as the area most susceptible to damage is underscored by its considerable tree coverage and elevated wind speeds, a common scenario in areas with undulating terrains and rural settings.

Similarly, the Derbyshire Dales' placement within the Peak District National Park contributes to its risk level, with its natural landscapes and dense vegetation increasing the likelihood of tree falls during adverse weather conditions.

Matthew Harwood, a home insurance specialist at, shares advice on mitigating tree damage risks:

  • Regularly examine trees for signs of ill health, such as dead branches, trunk cracks, fungal growth, or cavities. Indicators of instability, like uneven growth or a leaning stance, should not be ignored.
  • For those uncertain about a tree's condition, consulting a certified tree surgeon for a thorough evaluation and recommendations is advisable.
  • When a tree is situated on public land or poses a public hazard, it's imperative to report it to local council authorities, who have the jurisdiction to inspect and intervene as necessary.
  • If a neighbouring tree poses a risk, initiating a conversation with the owner is the first step. Should they fail to act, involving the local council may be necessary.

Harwood also emphasises the importance of proactive tree monitoring and a clear understanding of one's insurance policy to effectively prevent and address damage caused by fallen trees.

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