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Increased protection for urban trees

Words: Laura Edgar
Urban trees / iStock-872926754

Plans to ensure that trees in urban areas receive greater protection have been announced by environment secretary Michael Gove.

It is intended that the proposals would make sure councils can’t cut down street trees without first consulting the community.

The government said the measures reflect the important role trees play in towns and cities in improving the health of residents and the environment.

The consultation seeks to ensure that local people have a bigger say over trees in their communities. Proposals include:

  • Requirements for councils to consult communities on whether street trees should be felled.
  • Responsibilities for councils to report tree felling and replanting to make sure the environment is safeguarded for future generations.
  • Giving the Forestry Commission more powers to tackle illegal tree felling and strengthen protection of wooded landscapes.

Gove said: “Trees have often been rooted in our towns and cities for many years, and are undoubtedly part of our local heritage.

“These measures will enhance the protection given to urban trees, ensuring residents are properly consulted before trees are felled and safeguarding our urban environment for future generations.”

Richard Greenhous, director of forest services at the Forestry Commission, added: “The Forestry Commission recognises that our trees and woodlands are under increasing pressure, especially in and around urban areas. With this consultation we hope to be able to better protect more of our cherished woodlands from illegal felling.”

This consultation forms part of the government’s ongoing work to protect and promote trees, including its commitment to plant one million trees in towns and cities and 11 million trees nationwide over the course of this Parliament.

The consultation can be found here on the UK Government website.

Read more:

Government to strengthen environmental protections in the NPPF

Image credit | iStock