Have your say to DEFRA on “Street Trees”

The government is consulting on the management of “street trees”, presumably in the wake of the Sheffield scandal. Urban trees are beneficial absorbers of CO2 and air pollution, as well as welcome islands of shade in increasingly hot summers. The proposals include an obligation on local authorities to consult local residents before felling street trees and to report on street tree felling and planting, and help to create tree and woodland policy. They would also give more powers to prevent and punish illegal felling. The Woodland Trust generally welcomes the proposals but invites its supporters to respond to the consultation by the deadline of 28th February pointing out a number of problems. These include the very limited definition of a “street tree”, pointing out that conflict often arises over trees on the edge of town (plenty of those are under threat by Basingstoke Local Plan developments). The proposed restriction of the consultation to residents in the immediate vicinity of trees proposed to be felled ignores the feelings of the rest of the community, e.g. an entire housing estate. It thinks that greater deterrence to illegal felling is needed.

BTN encourages supporters to fill in the questionnaire at https://consult.defra.gov.uk/forestry/protecting-trees-and-woodlands/consultation/intro/ , perhaps following the Woodland Trust guidance, since some of the issues are complicated. I suggest keep mentioning “air pollution”, “biodiversity” and “climate change” in your answers so that DEFRA knows that you think these subjects are important.