Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Sidmouth Arboretum: how to protect trees and woodland

This is the speech given this evening - at the full District Council session - by Diana East, secretary of the Sidmouth Arboretum, in support of "Motion 3 – Value and protection of trees" 

Next year SIDMOUTH Arboretum will undertake a TREE SURVEY of the Sid Valley, which will provide some facts about the existing trees and hedges

SUCH AS  which species are best for improving air quality
                                                           are best for flood control
                                                           best for flower / fruit for public  spaces.

Then with these guidelines we can look at where new planting would improve the environment for people, as well as enhance wildlife corridors and create biodiversity .

There will be opportunities to plant new tree species, create new green spaces, encourage walkers.  - tourism is such a large part of our local economy.

We will join up with others  AONB  RSPB   Wildlife Trust  NT and land owners in the Sid Valley to maintain and improve the landscape. …   
which will not be immune to
                        threats from climate change –
                        threats from pests and diseases
                                                                                  and developers of course.

There will be opportunities to plant new tree species, create new green spaces, encourage walkers.  - tourism is such a large part of our local economy.

So how to PROTECT for trees and woodland
The WOODLAND TRUST ANCIENT TREE FORUM  suggests a system for evaluating trees similar to Listed Buildings or Heritage Landscape.  A   Grade 1 champion tree should get same protection as Grade 1 Listed Building.   After all, if you cut down a champion tree – it replacement takes at least 200 years to become the same size.     And all the wildlife – the protected bats, lichens, and invertebrates that used such a tree for their food and shelter, what will they do in the intervening years?     

Undoubtedly the TREE PRESERVATION ORDER system needs strengthening

What PENALTIES will be exerted
ENGLISH HERITAGE are working with the TREE AND DESIGN ACTION GROUP – focus on urban planting and need to change planning laws so the planting is integral to the process, not an afterthought.   
Where trees are taken out for development, then replacing one mature tree with one young tree is not sufficient.    The aim should be to provide the same canopy spread but with dozens of young trees.   That should be a bit of a deterrent!.

Then there is a system developed by Epping Forest District Council which puts a Capital Asset Value – pounds sign – on trees.       That would lend weight to preserving them when threatened.   

If greater protection and penalties become part of the planning process we would benefit from varied trees, a lively economy and relaxed people.     

The Motion was debated, with Cllrs  unanimous about the need to address the issues. However, a majority of Cllrs voted against, preferring the proposal by Cllr Tony Howard to set up a Task and Finish Forum to "get evidence before wasting government time".


Sidmouth Arboretum - Home
Ancient Tree Forum
Trees and Design Action Group - Home

The article discusses the Capital Asset Value for Amenity Trees system, developed by Chris Neilan, Landscape Officer and Aboriculturist at Epping Forest District Council in England. Neilan claims the system provides a tool to give trees a monetary value in order to manage the trees as public assets. The system considers the initial cost of a tree and accounts for its health, life expectancy, and location.
Putting a price on trees - Tags: TREES -- Economic aspects FORESTS & forestry -- England

Motion on tree protection for next EDDC council meeting

comments (1)

I have lodged the motion below for the next EDDC council meeting on Wednesday 23 October, starting at 6.30pm.
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.
It is seconded by Roger Giles and supported by Susie Bond, Trevor Cope and Ben Ingham.
“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


1. At 10:56 pm on 07th Oct John Varley wrote:
I was a member of the Government’s Independent Panel on Forestry, chaired by the Bishop of Liverpool, after the fiasco of the proposed sell off of the Public Forest Estate.  If you read our report you will see support for the general thrust of your aims.  I spent a lot of time agreeing with the CEO’s of both RSPB and Woodland Trust (with one exception regarding felling all commercial forestry on every AWS which was bonkers!).  Closer to home Clinton Devon Estates has been planting new woodland.  A Jubilee Wood at Harpford with help from Newton Poppleford Primary School and in addition, over 200,000 trees last year, many replacing a lot of our Larch killed by the disease P. ramorum which is affecting nearly all Larch in Wales, SW England and West Scotland.  This is a bit of a tragedy as we were planning to gradually move to continuos cover forestry from more traditional clear felling.  Over the next 40 years we will get back on track I hope.
Rather than just encouraging EDDC to plant trees I feel that it would be more productive for biodiversity if there was a more joined up approach to how woodlands and conservation areas and farm stewardship schemes are linked to provide “wildlife corridors” rather than remote outposts.  EDDC has its own wildlife reserves and other land.  If you could encourage joined up thinking between local authorities, private landowners, farmers, nature NGOs (eg RSPB) and Natural England in constructing conservation schemes on a landscape scale then we will be making progress…  The new Common Agricultural Policy and the way it is being interpreted by Defra may help…
Claire Wright - Your Independent East Devon District Councillor for Ottery Rural

See also: Futures Forum: Protecting trees in East Devon: District Council to debate

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