8th July 2020
The suburban housing estate where my parents live in Newcastle was built back in the 1960s, with one new tree per house being part of the marketing campaign: a nice little developer’s sales pitch that has clearly fallen out of favour in the intervening period. But now they are back!
Recent policy and guidance documents are starting to build a momentum behind a trees-led approach on new developments:
The Defra consultation in particular has been fascinating me lately. A significant proportion of the consultation document focusses on identifying the barriers to the establishment and delivery of trees and woodland across England, and considers how they could best be removed. The barriers that is – not the trees!
It’s not all about big, commercial woodlands and subsidies though. This little snippet about tree-lined streets in particular caught my eye:
‘With appropriate steps taken, our commitment to tree-lined streets, and the benefits these will bring, can be realised. As we want to see all new streets lined with trees, we welcome views on any barriers to establishing and maintaining street trees, from the early stages of planning through to the effective planting of the trees and maintenance over their lifetime. We also welcome views on how these barriers can be overcome.’
It feels like a lofty goal to have all new streets tree-lined for sure, even though as I’ve said, some developers were doing it way back in the 60s!
Defra go onto say that:
‘Once planted, maintenance then needs to be appropriately funded and managed – responsibilities for this maintenance tends to sit with highways authorities where the road has been adopted, or through alternative mechanisms on private roads.’
In my experience, developers on new housing developments often prefer for all of the green infrastructure, including trees, to become the responsibility of the management company. Especially when they are building out, as this affords greater control over the maintenance regime when developers want their sites to look pristine to help enhance sables.
A couple of the key challenges to the creation of tree lines streets are:
So what are the solutions? Four simple measures I’d advocate are:
What are your views on the main barriers to trees on every new street and how the barriers can be overcome? I’d be interested in hearing your views. (1)
7 July 2020
As would Defra: their consultation runs until 11 September 2020 (https://consult.defra.gov.uk/forestry/england-tree-strategy/).
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