Health check for trees in Telford and Wrekin
A survey to map the position and check the health of trees in Telford and Wrekin New Town estates has started this month.
The Telford Development Corporation planted millions of trees from the late 1960s to create a forest city as Telford New Town developed. This large scale planting included slow growing natives such as oak, beech, pine and chestnut trees as well as fast growing species like willow and poplar.
The fast growing trees, known as the nursery crop, were planted along roadsides, around housing estates and as woodlands to provide a relatively instant impact on the industrial landscape and give shelter for the slower growing natives to establish. The idea was to remove the nursery crop as the slower growing trees matured so that they had the light and space they need to thrive.
Although the Council has been undertaking the phased removal of the nursery crop as part of its day to day Pride in Our Community tree management programme, the work has not been enough to address the sheer number of these trees planted and they have begun to dominate some parts of the New Town estates.
The tree survey has been commissioned to ensure a healthy tree population and ‘a right tree in the right place’ approach is being taken. It will focus on 11 wards in the south of the borough, which are where the Corporation planted the majority of trees.
Over the next three months, the tree surveyor will be out in Mallinslee, Brookside, College, Dawley and Aqueduct, Donnington, Hadley and Leegomery, Madeley and Sutton Hill, and Dawley Bank, Oakengates and Ketley Bank, The Nedge, St Georges and Woodside. The health checks will include trees on Council-owned land in these areas, including adopted highways, housing estates, parks, open spaces, cemeteries and closed churchyards.
The survey is the first stage of adopting a new approach to looking after trees as the Council prepares for a new service contract in April 2019. It will record every tree’s location, type, proximity to buildings, overall health, current height and spread, eventual height and spread as well as any impact on local residents and their properties.
The findings will be used to update the borough’s tree management plan to safeguard the health of the borough’s trees in the future and ensure that a ‘right tree in the right place’ approach is being taken for future planting schemes.
As part of Telford’s 50th birthday celebrations, there are plans to mark the occasion by recognising the borough’s forest city legacy by inviting town and parish councils, local schools and community groups to join the Council in new ‘right tree in the right place’ planting schemes.
Councillor John Minor, Telford & Wrekin Council cabinet member for leisure, green spaces and parks, said: “Looking after the health of our trees is important, as is ensuring our residents benefit from an attractive landscape. This survey will provide an updated map of the millions of Council-owned trees in the borough, so that we know what tree is where and can plan our tree maintenance work and future planting schemes more effectively.”
Work to address issues with trees in other parts of the borough will continue to be undertaken on a case by case basis and residents are reminded to report concerns to the Council.