Canopy loss feared for London

Association chair Jake Tibbetts says loss of canopy cover in capital is greatest long-term worry.

Jake Tibbetts: canopy cover concern
Jake Tibbetts: canopy cover concern

New London Tree Officers Association (LTOA) chair Jake Tibbetts says his greatest long-term worry is loss of canopy cover in the capital.

Tibbetts, who took over from Dave Lofthouse this month, said: "There were huge plantings in the 1970s with 'Plant a tree in '73' and 'Plant some more in '74', but that stock of trees is coming to an end. I'm sceptical about future campaigns even if Boris Johnson plants the number he says he is going to. We need to invest in tree planting and management of our existing canopy of trees."

He added that tree officers are being "given less to do a lot more", particularly in London with oak processionary moth and Massaria problems. He said Massaria inspections have risen from every three years to three times a year, while oak processionary moth requires high levels of inspection.

Islington council tree manager Tibbetts said his department is making £100,000 cuts by losing two positions and cutting its tree-pruning budget, leaving two planning and four other staff.

"We've managed to make initial savings but the next round of cuts will be even more challenging." Tibbetts added that the wet weather in June and July led to an "unprecedented number" of call-outs because of tree extension growth.

"It's a challenging time to be a tree officer, with fewer resources and increasing pressures. This makes it more important that we have an active, engaged and collaborative membership. Members should seek and share all the help, advice, support and training facilitated and provided by the LTOA. By working together, we can support each other during these challenging times and continue to improve the care of our city's trees."

Tibbetts said he aims to get the membership re-engaged and refocused. He has worked on dog damage and Massaria leaflets, with the latter due out within the next couple of months.

Landmark ruling 'Foreseeability' clarified

A landmark Court of Appeal decision could reduce the number of subsidence claims brought against councils.

Berent v Family Mosaic Housing and London Borough of Islington clarifies what "foreseeability" means. The ruling moves the perception away from the position that a tree on clay soil near a building is a "reasonably foreseeable" risk, as previously presumed. See www.HorticultureWeek.co.uk.


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