A residents’ group has accused the council of putting developers before the environment after the felling of a centuries-old oak tree.

Save Enfield Trees and Wildlife Habitats has warned of the scale of tree-felling in Enfield after the tree, bordering Oakwood Park, was chopped down last Thursday (June 28).

It was felled after a tree preservation order was lifted by the council following claims its roots were causing subsidence in neighbouring properties.

Jayne Buckland, who lives in Enfield Town and founded Save Enfield Trees, said: “When that tree came down, a lady who rang me about it was actually crying, and I cried with her.

"That tree was there all my life. The trees are part of our environment.

"Somebody on the council has given permission to take down a very mature oak tree on private land. You do not hear of that here. You shouldn’t hear of it."

She drew attention to the number of other animals that live in oak trees and form part of the ecosystem, adding: "That tree would have held about 400 species."

Enfield has one of the highest rates of tree-felling in the country, with more than 3,500 trees chopped down in the past three years.

Ms Buckland claimed other boroughs such as Camden were able to preserve trees when carrying out development work.

She said: "If you maintain trees, they are fine. We inherit these trees from previous generations, and they are important.

"I am quite fearful for the look of the borough."

Ms Buckland said the council had responded to her enquiries, telling her the tree was felled after causing subsidence issues in neighbouring properties for several years.

Insurers had previously installed a root barrier and hydration trench across the gardens to try and retain the tree, but these measures had not been successful.

The council said it would be hard to defend the tree if the matter went to court and it would likely come at “significant financial cost to the council”.

An Enfield Council spokesperson said: “Enfield Council is responsible for the maintenance and care of more than 110,000 trees in the borough and removes less than one per cent of this number every year.

"In the vast majority of cases trees are removed because they are diseased, dangerous or dying.

"The tree felled in Oakwood Park was a privately owned tree which was removed by a third party to apparently mitigate an insurance claim caused by subsidence."