Southend Conservative Deputy Group Leader, Cllr Meg Davidson, has urged the Council to update its tree planting policies so that it can continue to make successful bids for government funding to plant new trees in the borough. The Council’s existing Tree Policy dates back to 2003 and it does not provide the level of detail which is likely to be required by the Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in the future.
Last year, under the Conservative administration, the Council successfully bid for 215 new trees from the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy scheme, commemorating the centenary of Armistice Day. But now DEFRA is proposing to introduce new duties on local councils in relation to management of trees. Local councils will be required to publish a Tree and Woodlands Strategy and will have a duty to consult on the felling of street trees and a duty to report on tree felling and replanting.
Cllr Davidson said,
"The Council is better at telling us about the trees it is planning to cut down than the new trees it is going to plant. I would like to see residents being given much more information about tree replacements and having a say in where new trees could be planted.”