Defra: Councils should publish tree felling and replanting figures

Defra secretary Michael Gove has launched a consultation on a range of plans designed to safeguard urban and peri-urban trees.

Image: Tim Green
Image: Tim Green

The plans include a requirement for councils to consult communities before cutting down street trees - an area in which the government's Tree Champion Sir William Worsley has led on.

They also propose to require councils to report on tree felling and replanting, and to give the Forestry Commission more powers to tackle illegal tree felling and strengthen protection of wooded landscapes.

A further proposal is for best practice guidance to be produced to support local authorities in drawing up, consulting on and publishing tree and woodland strategies.

Gove said: "These measures will enhance the protection given to urban trees, ensuring residents are properly consulted before trees are felled and safeguarding our urban environment for future generations."

Worsley added: "Urban trees are an amazingly valuable natural resource, and with this consultation I hope we can take further steps towards strong and robust protections to ensure their futures."

Forestry Commission director of forest services Richard Greenhous said: "The Forestry Commission recognises that our trees and woodlands are under increasing pressure, especially in and around urban areas. With this consultation we hope to be able to better protect more of our cherished woodlands from illegal felling."

The consultation runs until the end of February.

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