Calls for county council to plant two new trees for every one removed

PUBLISHED: 11:59 09 February 2020 | UPDATED: 12:23 09 February 2020

County councillors have led calls for two new trees to be planted on council land, for every one removed. Picture: Archant

County councillors have led calls for two new trees to be planted on council land, for every one removed. Picture: Archant

Archant

A Conservative councillor wants the county council to commit to planting two trees for every one that comes down on its land.

At a meeting of the county council's highways and environment cabinet panel last month, Cllr Muir said he didn't think the council was going far enough with commitments to replant trees.

Currently, highways bosses at HCC aim to "replace where possible" every tree that has to be removed from the side of a road.

But this is not always the case if a tree has been causing damage or if there's a lack of space due to cables or pipes.

Cllr Muir urged the cabinet panel to back his calls for every tree that was lost on council land - whether by the highway, at a school or on a council-owned farming estate - to be replaced with two more.

But councillors opted to wait until the county council had drafted the Herts Sustainability Strategy, and for the ongoing work on the Tree Resilience and Recovery Strategy to be completed.

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Cllr Muir argued that it would take up to 90 years for a young replacement tree to take the same amount of carbon from the air as the mature tree it replaced - so two were needed.

"it should be two standard trees for any one on council land," Cllr Muir said. "And if it's a tree on the highway where there is not enough room, the other tree can go on county land somewhere."

The move was also backed by Liberal Democrat Cllr Stephen GIles-Medhurst, who said the council was being "unambitious" in light of the climate change emergency it had adopted.

The panel also called for the county council - in conjunction with borough, district and parish councils - to identify locations on highways land where additional trees could be planted.

The report on Monday noted that it was likely this would be a recommendation of the ongoing Tree Resilience and Recovery Strategy, and agreed to reconsider the matter after the strategy had been completed.

Cllr Giles-Medhurst pushed for this to be done by the autumn - in time for the next winter tree-planting season. However, no guarantee was offered, with the commitment that it would be "as soon as possible".

Cllr Giles-Medhurst also suggested there should be a mechanism for residents to donate money to have a tree planted - which there is not currently.


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