Council hopes its barking up the right tree with 10 year strategy to protect and enhance trees in East Cambridgeshire

Trees along the riverside in Ely. Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

Trees along the riverside in Ely. Picture: GOOGLE MAPS - Credit: Archant

A 10 year strategy to protest trees in east Cambridgeshire will manage risk, maintain high standards and ensure trees are considered within new housing estates.

East Cambridgeshire District Council’s regulatory services committee will consider the strategy that promises to be wide ranging and particularly cover those with tree preservation orders (TPO) on them.

Within the district there are 449 trees with a TPO and this year there have been applications for 31 to be added to that list.

Trees are of particular concern in the council’s 26 conservation areas and the council will ensure residents have access to information about protected trees.

Councillor Lis Every, planning champion for East Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “Trees are vital. Not only are they essential for life, but as the longest living species on earth, they give us a link between the past, present and future.

“Whilst adding beauty and a sense of place, they also give character to our District’s landscape and we know that they are greatly valued by the local community and visitors alike. People want to live in a pleasant environment that is clean, green and safe.

“Trees and woodland areas play an important part in this, by cleaning the air we breathe, providing a habitat for plants and animal species and creating an attractive environment for people to live in and to visit”

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She said the council laces great importance on preserving the landscape to ensure that it will continue to be enjoyed by us all.

“In order to achieve this we are committed to managing and protecting the trees in the district,” she said.

TPO information is not available to the public to view on the council website but this could change.

The council is also hoping to ensure correct information and advice on tree management is provided for both privately and council owned.

There is also a call for more involvement in major pre-planning application discussions; at the moment trees officers have only been invited to attend a handful of meetings such as North Ely development.

In 2018 there have been 241 planning applications completed but this number could grow if the becomes more widely used.

The council is also to look at ways of extending the voluntary parish tree warden scheme (there are currently 18 parishes taking part with 18 tree wards – but it relies for the moment on local government support. Other ways to extend this without utilising existing council resources will be considered.

The council may set up a reference library of quality landscape schemes from past planning conditions and review conditions relating to trees to ensure they are up to date and relevant.

Any tree officer lingering in the past can also expect a wake up call from the council – the report promises “training as required on use of social media and website updating.” They are also being invited to “sell the benefit of trees via the website and be more proactive”.