Monday, 7 October 2013

Protecting trees in East Devon

The District Council has taken trees, especially grand old trees, very seriously:

Great Trees of East Devon

Picture of a Yew tree at Farway
Very old or unusual trees support rare wildlife and often have a fascinating story to tell. Britain is thought to have the largest number of old broadleaved trees still surviving in Northern Europe, so the way we look after our veteran trees and their wildlife is crucial to global biodiversity.
From 2005 until 2008, East Devon District Council hosted the Great Trees of East Devon project. This included:
  • running the Great Tree Hunt to find the most interesting and important trees in the district;
  • supporting the parish tree wardens with training, advice and resources
  • visiting schools and providing materials for them to take part in tree hunts and seed projects
  • giving advice and information about looking after ancient trees to landowners and other interested people

Legacies of the Great Trees project

Although the Great Trees project came to an end at the end of March 2008, it has left a number of legacies, both in the short term and, we hope, in the longer term. 
East Devon District Council - Great Trees of East Devon
BBC - Devon - Nature - East Devon's greatest trees

However, there are concerns that there might not be enough protection afforded to these great trees.
Cllr Claire Wright has lodged this motion - for the next District Council's full council meeting on Wednesday 23rd October:

“This council recognises the great value of trees to the East Devon landscape, particularly ancient woodland, and also the importance of trees to wildlife.  This council is concerned at the loss of trees as a result of development proposals, and is particularly concerned at the removal of trees by developers ahead of receiving planning approval.
This council:
1. calls on the Government to provide greater protection for trees and ancient woodland
2. calls on the government to allow greater penalties for developers who remove trees without permission
3. asks the portfolio holder for environment to pursue options for woodland creation and tree planting in East Devon

Cllr Wright says on her blog: 

It would be great to get a number of supportive speakers from members of the public. Public speaking is at the start of the meeting.

Claire Wright - Your Independent East Devon District Councillor for Ottery Rural

This follows on from the felling of ancient oaks at West Hill, although a comment poses another perspective:

Not every tree has to be regarded as a ‘national treasure’ and this particularly the case in West Hill where they are hardly in short supply. All trees have a finite life span and are often overcrowded if not properly managed. Any property owner has the right to manage or remove trees on their own property if they are not subject to a TPO

Claire Wright - Your Independent East Devon District Councillor for Ottery Rural

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