Greater protections for trees in urban areas are on the way, a month after Councillor Gerry Ellis presented a petition signed by 476 people following trees being felled in Ashton Park, West Kirby.
The new proposals have been published by the Department for the Environment and residents in Wirral are being asked for their views on the plans: https://consult.defra.gov.uk/forestry/protecting-trees-and-woodlands/
Councillor Ellis said: "The way in which the Council has behaved in Ashton Park has been very heavy handed and dismissive of the concerns of local residents.
"I'm delighted these new proposals will ensure this can never happen again and that councils can’t cut down trees without first consulting communities.
"Ashton Park is a jewel in our local environment and is loved by residents of West Kirby, Hoylake and further afield. The Council's actions have caused considerable distress and anger in the local community."
Forestry Commission Director of Forest Services Richard Greenhous 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."
The proposals include:
- making sure communities have their say on whether street trees should be felled with requirements for councils to consult local residents
- responsibilities on councils to report on tree felling and replanting to make sure we can safeguard our environment for future generations
- giving the Forestry Commission more powers to tackle illegal tree felling and strengthen protection of wooded landscapes
This consultation forms part of the government’s ongoing work to protect and promote our precious trees, including our commitment to plant one million trees in our towns and cities in addition to eleven million trees nationwide over the course of this parliament.