Campaign launched to bring back tree planting in Norwich

Norwich trees - image:Ben Outram
Norwich trees - image:Ben Outram

Campaigners, residents and councillors in Norwich have launched a campaign to have the city's tree planting budget reinstated.

They claim that while around 300 old or diseased trees are felled each year in the city, new trees are only being replanted in certain conservation areas since cuts were introduced two years ago.

Green Party councillor Amy Stammers said: "This is a short-sighted solution to budgetary pressures. We understand the need for the council to save money, but this approach will cost a lot more in the long-term."

The campaigners have launched an online petition, which has so far gained over 200 signatures.

The Green Party has also called for the council to work with outside bodies to make good the shortfall in tree planting.

Norwich City Council manages about 300,000 trees in the city. In 2011 it cut its tree planting budget by £60,000, leaving just £35,000 for planting trees solely in conservation areas.

Councillor Paul Kendrick, whose cabinet responsibilities include trees, said: "Cuts from central government have meant local authorities across the country having to review and reduce their budgets.

"In our public consultation on how residents preferred these savings to be made, half of those who took part were not opposed to the reduction in the tree planting budget."

The budget has merely been "suspended" rather than cut completely, so could be reinstated should funds become available, he added.

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