Decision details

Tree Management: Limited Review of the Trees and Woodland Strategy (Including Revised Tree Planting Targets) - NOV21/CAB/46

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: Yes


The primary purpose of this report is for Cabinet to determine what, if any, amendments to the Trees and Woodland Strategy are considered appropriate (aided by, in part, by the recommendations of the Climate Change Cross Party Working Group, and thereby recommend such amendments to the next available Full Council meeting. As a reminder, the Trees and Woodland Strategy is a major policy item, and therefore only Full Council can amend its content. The report also considers and makes recommendations on other tree-related matters.


Cabinet considered the report and RESOLVED to:


1.    Endorse the tree planting and other related recommendations of the Climate Member Group to Full Council, as set out in Appendix 1, subject to the following change: 


6. That Council investigates all reasonable options to secure additional external revenue funding, of around £70,000 per annum, in order to secure (a) additional staffing support (cost c£50,000 pa) to: undertake the work required to bid for funds; to maintain the evidence base to support locations to deliver new planting; undertake ground truthing of sites identified for potential planting; and overall manage the delivery of the ambitious tree planting programme, the scale of which will be similar to that achieved under the Development Corporation programme of the 1970s/80s; and (b) a small funding pot (c£20,000 pa) to be used to help directly deliver the tree planting targets in any particular year where 100% grant funding cannot be secured. 


2.    Recommend to Full Council that the Trees and Woodland Strategy, in addition to any amendments arising from recommendation 1, be further amended by way of (a) an updated Tree Risk Management Plan, as set out in Appendix 2; and (b) introduction of new operational guidelines in respect of daylight loss and vegetation encroachment, as set out in para 4.24.  

3.    Welcome the national ‘Queen’s Green Canopy’ scheme, and instruct officers to (a) take all reasonable opportunities to promote the scheme with the public, encouraging the public and businesses to ‘plant a tree for the Jubilee’; (b) determine whether any of the council’s land holdings due to have tree planting introduced over the next two winters be specifically designated (with appropriate signage) as a ‘Queen Green Canopy’ planting (such as a new copse, woodland or orchard), and (c) where appropriate, submit where appropriate tree planting done by the council over the next 2 winters to the national Queen’s Green Canopy database, so that the council’s contribution can be recognised. 


Reasons for the decision:

There is widespread acknowledgement of the vital role trees play, not only for human benefit but wider planet and biodiversity gains. The recommendations in this report are aimed at further strengthening the council’s commitment to tree planting and a high quality tree management service.

Alternative options considered:

Tree Planting Target


A wide range of options have been considered for increasing tree planting by the council, as detailed in Appendix 1. The option of planting less trees was rejected from the start of the process, as this would be contrary to the climate and biodiversity emergencies that we face.


Tree Risk Management Plan


Other rejected options include:


1. Keep plan as existing. This was dismissed as it was considered that the Council would not comply with best practice guidance or its legal duties.


2. Specify a Plan that exceeds best practice guidance or resources. Although commendable this approach would impose unacceptable financial pressures on the authority.


Amendments to Trees and Woodland Strategy (including exceptions)


Rejected options include:


1. Prune any tree that shades or overhangs private property. This would introduce a significant financial burden exceeding existing budget along with the destruction of one of the city’s most valuable natural assets.


2. Insert a broad range of exemptions. This would make the role of the Tree Officer untenable and would impose financial burdens far in excess of existing budgets

Interests and Nature of Interests Declared:


Background Documents:

Trees and Woodland Strategy 2018

Publication date: 15/11/2021

Date of decision: 15/11/2021

Decided at meeting: 15/11/2021 - Cabinet

Effective from: 19/11/2021

Accompanying Documents: