Doncaster Council has carried out an independent review of its Tree Management Policy to bring it in line with the council’s climate commitments.
The Mayor of Doncaster declared a climate and biodiversity emergency in September 2019 and since then an independent Climate Commission has been set up by Team Doncaster representing key agencies and partners in the borough. From this, the council has developed its own Environment Strategy which reflects current priorities for climate change and is reviewing its Tree Management Policy in line with this.
Mayor of Doncaster, Ros Jones said: “Trees form a large part of our carbon and biodiversity commitments, and alongside our new Environment Strategy, the council’s revised tree policy will look to consider this important aspect of Doncaster’s environment when deciding on tree removal, and the location of replacement trees.
“Trees play such a vital role in improving habitats and biodiversity as well as increasing clean air. We have some magnificent species in our borough which contribute to terrific landscapes and are good for our mental wellbeing. We need to look after them. Our new policy will be committed to the principle of minimal tree removal and to only be considered as a last resort and where no alternative solution can be found.”
The current Tree Management Policy, which was written a number of years ago and long before Mayor Ros Jones sounded the alarm on climate change, has undergone an independent review. This involved Professor Ian Rotherham, an academic with considerable experience in urban street tree issues. (In March 2020 Ian launched the Doncaster Nature Partnership’s ‘Your Wilder Doncaster’ event). The review involved local stakeholders such as community members and council officers as well as external experts. The remit within the wider Tree Policy, was specifically to consider ‘street trees’ and other trees outside of woodlands and for which the council has a management function.
The comprehensive findings highlighted that ‘This is an especially appropriate time to be undertaking such a review’ and that ‘The broad review of the opinions of organisations and individuals consulted has been very positive in welcoming the council’s environmental commitments.’
Professor Rotherham commented that; “Street trees are hugely important to local people but in urban settings they also present problems. Doncaster’s emerging Tree Policy will help secure a more sustainable future for its citizens and for nature.”
Doncaster Council has also consulted with key community groups and interest groups including those who recently protested against the removal of street trees on Middlefield Road in Bessacarr. Nearly 750 people responded to the online Doncaster Talks consultation, of which 72% were local residents. A wide range of views were presented on subjects such as methods of notification and consultation regarding tree removal and replacement and their input will now shape the revised tree policy.
At its meeting on 23 February, Cabinet considered the findings of the independent review and the revised policy in order to ensure the it reflects Doncaster’s current priorities for planting more trees, environmental conservation and local decision-making processes.
Doncaster’s Climate Commission is considering a range of issues including the importance of natural climate solutions to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and protect the health of existing natural habitat including creating new ones such as woodland, wood pasture, trees, hedgerows, wild flower and tall grass meadows. The final report which can be viewed here makes a series of recommendations about how Doncaster can tackle the bio-diversity emergency and achieve net zero emissions. More information can be found at https://www.doncaster.gov.uk/services/environmental/climate-change
- Category: Environment