New and Replacement Street Trees: Update

From our Tree Champion (Stephanie French):

Our NP may be dead but long live the trees growing within its borders!

At the final Meeting of our NP on 22 May 2017, a decision was made to carry on seeing the current “tree orders” through “the system”, as all the preparatory work has been done and we believe the funding to be secured. We had originally planned for 29 trees to be planted around the area in 2017/18, taking up BCCs Tree Sponsorship sites.

Coniston Ave - view to St MonicaHowever, there is much turmoil in the Council with its budget deliberations – especially within the Tree Department. It may well turn out that while the trees that should have been planted in 2016/17 but were not – and have been promised for delayed planting in 2017/18 – will be at the “old” price (£295). Unfortunately, it looks like any trees we hope to plant in 2017/18 that constitute a “new order”, will be at the new price of £765 each.

Consequently, we cannot afford the 29 trees that we had planned to plant in 2017/18 but only 11, so as to keep within the original approved budget (£8555). Still, I guess 11 are better than none! Therefore, we are ordering 4 for Northumbria Drive, 4 for Barley Croft, 1 for Stoke Lodge Parkland and 2 on Sea Mills Square. This was the fairest distribution across the patch we could come up with; bearing in mind the planting that has gone on before. Whilst it fills in gaps in our current tree-scape, unfortunately it does not include the new sites that we had had big plans for getting planted.

People ask me what is going to happen about the trees that they have ordered already under the old scheme and at the old price but that have not yet been planted. Some folk have already paid a deposit on those trees, to secure the tree site. The answer is “I do not know yet”. If you have enquired and do know the answer then I’d like to hear from you!

Meanwhile the battle goes on to try and get the Council to see sense over the proposed cuts to their tree maintenance budget, which sees the budget slashed by over 70%. This puts the future of all Bristol’s Street Trees under the threat of felling and turning Bristol into an unhealthy and ugly urban wasteland. This would become Mayor Marvin’s legacy – not a very proud one. The proposals are short-sighted and could cost more in the long run than the “savings” might produce, as insurance claims follow on from accidents with trees that have become dangerous.

As I get answers to some of the outstanding tree questions I’ll put the news on to this website.Street Trees (3)

If you want your Street Trees to stay where they are – both across the City as well as locally – then join in the Council’s Consultation during the summer, after the General Election. As you go around Bristol, just look at the trees around you. They have become part of the furniture and you may not even notice them. Then try to imagine them not being there. It is an awful prospect, isn’t it?

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