Everyone agrees that street trees need to be managed and in some cases felled, but the strength of local feeling caused by the approach taken by the Streets Ahead programme in Sheffield, suggests that a different approach is needed. Trees are valuable to local communities not just for their character but also the ecosystem services they provide, such as reducing the effects of pollution and climate change, creating a vital habitat for wildlife and contributing to a healthy nature network.
The government is seeking views on whether there should be a duty on local authorities to consult and report on street tree felling and planting, and whether it should produce best practice guidance to support local authorities in drawing up, consulting on and publishing Tree and Woodland strategies. Such strategies could enable local authorities to set out their tree policies clearly to the public and increase transparency and accountability. You can download the consultation document below.
We will be submitting a local response and are also leading on the national Wildlife Trust’s response, drawing especially on our experience in Sheffield. As part of our role on the national Urban Forest & Woodlands Committee, we attended a consultation event chaired by the new Tree Champion, William Worsley. This explored some of the proposals in this consultation in more detail, and so our response has also been informed by that discussion.
- Please read our draft response to the consultation below and let us know if you think something is wrong or if our response is missing something really critical – we will use your comments to inform our final response. Get your comments to us by 22nd February to make sure they can be included before the deadline.
- Respond to the consultation directly yourself if you haven’t already. You can use our draft response for inspiration if you need some help. The deadline is 28th February 2019 so don’t delay!
- Please let us know if you do submit a response.