Consultant urges key agencies to provide leadership on tree cover

Government-related bodies need to "step up to the challenge" of strategic creation and management of tree cover now the election is over, according to a leading consultant.

The Forestry Commission, CABE, Communities & Local Government, English Heritage and Natural England all need to provide leadership on trees, according to Neville Fay.

The Treework Environmental Practice (TEP) principal told HW that he believed it was critical for there to be clear leadership on issues including forecasting where tree losses might occur, understanding the tree resource in urban and rural areas and looking at tree replenishment.

"We want to provide good professional leadership so agencies can have the ground prepared," he explained. "We need the Forestry Commission, CABE, English Heritage, Natural England and CLG to step up to the challenge and look at this particular national resource, which speaks to their policy statements."

TEP is planning a day-long seminar at RBG Kew on 24 June to examine the issue of tree-lined avenues and urban canopy cover. As well as a keynote speech from Kew's head of arboretum Tony Kirkham, Chantal Pradines, who is an expert to the Council of Europe, will explore the topic from a European perspective.

Pradines explained: "Traditional avenues have virtually disappeared in many regions, under the combined influence of the car culture, reduced awareness and loss of specialist expertise. It is high time that we reversed this trend."

Trees & Design Action Group convener Sue James added: "Urban trees are moving up the agenda environmentally, socially, politically and economically. The opportunity is here to co-ordinate policy, guidance, research and expertise about urban trees and the wide range of benefits they offer towards tackling many of today's urban challenges.

"It is vital that all concerned work together to ensure that there is congruence as well as effective, integrated actions to protect and promote these important elements in the urban realm."

CABE head of public space Peter Neal will also speak at the event and said he was "delighted" to be involved. "Strategic planning and creative design has a crucial role to play in ensuing that a healthy tree stock is an integral part of delivering a sustainable built environment," he insisted.

- To book a place at the TEP seminar, visit

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