Maintaining the Tree Stock in Norwich

2 February 2021

Maintaining the Tree Stock in Norwich

Green Party councillors in Norwich were celebrating unanimous support for their motion on Maintaining the Tree Stock in Norwich following a city council meeting last week. However, Councillor Paul Neale, who proposed the motion, said he was 'disappointed' by amendments from the Labour Group which showed that Labour councillors were not prepared to prioritise the protection of older trees

Councillor Neale said:

"I was very disappointed that Labour councillors said they would only agree to preserve trees and the wildlife living on them 'where appropriate'. Protecting our valuable trees and wildlife should be the default position and not one that has to be subject to checks of appropriateness. The amendments passed by the Labour Group show that they are not prepared to prioritise protecting mature trees which we need to clean our air and provide a rich home in the city for birds and insects."

During debate, councillors from the Labour and Liberal Democrat groups took comfort in the idea of planting young trees around the city, but Councillor Neale, summing up, said:

"Planting 100 saplings is positive but not equal to cutting down mature trees." He also accused Labour councillors of habitually seeking to "dilute any good ideas by adding ‘get out of jail cards’ with unquantifiable amendments just to avoid full commitment" in motions brought to the council.

Green councillors brought their motion due to concerns that mature trees are often felled to make way for new buildings or road projects, reducing local biodiversity.

Further information from

Councillor Paul Neale                            p.neale@cllr.norwich.gov.uk

Notes:

The motion 'Maintaining the Tree Stock of Norwich' was proposed by Councillor Paul Neale and seconded by Councillor Sandra Bogelein at a meeting of Norwich City Council on Tuesday 26th January 2021, with the following wording:

Maintaining the Tree Stock of Norwich

The city council has committed to publishing a tree strategy by 2022, but the city loses a number of trees to development each year. The Woodland Trust has said ‘Local authorities must plant more trees and protect those they already have’. The Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan (2018) says ‘Having more trees in and around our towns and cities, close to where people live and work, brings people closer to nature and improves air quality, with consequent positive health impacts.’ 

This council RESOLVES to:

1) protect trees in Norwich;

2) produce a supplementary planning document which would clarify and strengthen council policies frequently referred to when considering the acceptability of losing a tree or major shrub for development. Whereas currently, such a loss is allowed if ‘it would allow for a substantially improved overall approach to the design and landscaping of the development that would outweigh the loss of any tree or hedgerow’, the new supplementary planning document will clarify what would be lost and what would be necessary to outweigh that loss in the areas of biodiversity benefits, the cooling effects of trees, air quality and the part that specific trees play in biodiversity corridors.

3) provide, within a new supplementary planning document, an explanation of how to calculate the biomass of any tree or major shrub which is to be removed, and a requirement that the biomass should be replaced in full at the completion of the development. This may require considering on and off site provision;

4) ask officers to notify ward councillors whenever trees are required to be removed from council-owned land in their wards and for the officers to explain the reason for the removal before this is undertaken. This should be the case for any trees and significant hedge and shrub masses, not only for trees protected by a tree protection order;

5) strongly represent the need to preserve trees and the wildlife living on them, and where this is not possible to arrange a 100% biomass replacement at the completion of highway schemes for any highway projects in the city.






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