Monday 27 November 2017

Stronger commitment to tree replacement needed in Brent's tree policy

Far sighted planners ensured that many of Brent's Council council housing estates retained mature trees or had new trees planted but under BHP's management trees were felled and not replaced leaving stumps as shown in the video above.

Brent Council has now taken back control of the estates so I was disappointed to see that in the proposed Tree Management Policy, although there is a promise to consult tenants and lease holders and to publish the arbiculture programme on the council website, there is no clear commitment to replacing felled trees or even removing the stumps. Limited budgets are behind this of course but lack of replacement contradicts the arguments in the Policy about the importance of trees in terms of clean air and improving the environment.

The proposed Policy will be discussed at the Public Realm and Resources Committee tonight LINK before going to Cabinet and I hope members will suggest that the Council have a clear costed action plan on tree replanting on its estates as well in parks and on Brent streets.

The Policy states that the Council would: 
Maintain the managed tree stock on the public highway, housing estates, parks, cemeteries and allotments; on a proactive cyclical maintenance regime to ensure that trees are in a safe and healthy condition, and minimising the risk they may pose to property, residents or the public highway.
Limit the felling of trees to those circumstances where it is essential or clearly advisable.
Undertake pruning works following best arboriculture practice, and where possible for this to be undertaken on a scheduled basis. In addition, the council will also carry out reactive and emergency inspections as and when they are deemed necessary.
Manage residents’ expectations by listing circumstances in which the Council will not intervene, to provide clarity on an impartial basis to all residents. 
Enhance the role of street trees in mitigating and adapting to climate change by maintaining and, where possible, increasing tree cover across the Borough.
Encourage tree adoption and sponsorship to support planting schemes on council land.  
Consider replacement, where appropriate, of specific mature lime trees to mitigate against the concerns they may pose.
Provide public information in advance of planned tree works, including new planting or removal schemes.
Work closely with services to identify areas to plant new trees, in particular during regeneration and major resurfacing works.
Use current planning legislation to protect threatened trees, and those of particular value such as those in conservation areas or protected by Tree Preservation Orders
There is much more detail in the Policy itself which I publish below

1 comment:

Phil Ram said...

Copy and paste this interesting 2015 article on the benefits of trees within the urban environment of Toronto...
More and more local people are realising that caring for these 'corridors of tranquility and diversity that our trees create' is a great responsibility and Brent council should share the burden by actively encouraging residents to be aware of the importance of all our trees in the borough for our health and recreation-the two being totally interlinked. Leaving dead/dying tree stumps on the pavements ( 2 on mine for over a year until recently) and on Estate lawns is really giving the wrong message. Trees give shade, give a place for people to congregate. Trees put essential moisture in the air, contain and trap dust and dangerous pollutants in their leaves. Trees supply food and shelter for our wild animals and it must be said also supply food for us more canny humans who can be bothered to harvest it. Trees strengthen the limbs of our children who climb in them. Trees give us a sense of slowing down time and once they get going and start to thrive and live without help from us they are, apart from the time to time essential maintenance free and massively long living. So I urge the council think beyond just covering it's back, which I believe at first glance, is what most of this management policy actually does, and actively promote an educational presence on the urgent need to line every street with trees replace the felled trees with new ones and just a thought, try not charging people so much to park their cars on the street as this only leads to more destruction of front gardens and adds to increased flooding of our roads and houses. Let the discussion grow.