Tree and Woodland Policy to improve tree management

Telford & Wrekin Council is establishing a Tree and Woodland Policy which will guide the Council in its approach to dealing with trees and woodland in a clear and consistent way.

Tree and Woodland Policy to improve tree management

The Tree and Woodland Framework for Telford & Wrekin – Connecting Communities with Trees and Woodlands 2016-2021 will help enhance communication with customers over tree issues.

It will also create a better balance between the perceived nuisance of some trees in the borough and the benefits they provide.

Trees and woodlands in Telford and Wrekin are a significant asset, 15 million trees in fact, and along with other natural greenspace, have contributed hugely to the development of the borough.

The recent adoption of the Green Guarantee will see over 100 areas in the borough protected from development due to their biodiversity, leisure and recreation space.  Trees and woodlands are significant features in the value of these sites and further highlight the need for a tree and woodland policy.

Trees are acknowledged by residents as indicators of a quality environment, creating a positive sense of place.  They are also recognised as an important attraction for new businesses who seek areas with a tree-rich urban landscape.

The health and social benefits of trees and woodlands are also an important consideration within the policy.

The policy recognises the need for trees and woodland also needs to be balanced with the impact upon people’s lives, which is especially relevant in urban areas where issues with trees can cause inconvenience to those living nearby.  The Council needs to look after its trees, but deal with them when there is an issue.

Within the policy ‘Right place – Right tree’ aims to achieve this balance by considering the policy alongside a common sense approach, and making sure trees are placed in the right location.

‘Right place – Right tree’ will seek to reduce issues in the future by forward planning, provide clear information and guidelines for the community which will help to deal with enquiries in a fair and reasonable way, and deal with risk management in a proactive manner.

Councillor Shaun Davies, cabinet member for Business, Neighbourhood and Customer Services, said: “It is good practice that we have policies in place that enable a consistent approach to managing our trees and woodland. 

“This framework sets out how we can best use our resources and helps us to make sure residents know what we will and will not do.

“Liveability is key within the policy.  For example an overhanging tree dropping dead leaves on a garden may not be an issue to young active people, but for older people with reduced mobility it can be a major problem. 

“The Council has done a lot of work behind the scenes in terms of how enquiries are dealt with, aiming to improve the customer experience and deal with enquiries using a clear and consistent approach.”