Horticulture Week Custodian Award - Tree Service of the Year

Winner - Bournemouth Parks Tree Service

Bournemouth Parks, Bournemouth Borough Council

Trees have always been very important to Bournemouth, its Pines helped it grow as a health resort in the 19th Century and other veteran trees include Oaks and Sweet Chestnuts, some of which are more than 300 years old. The council takes immense pride in the care of the existing tree stock but is also committed to enhancing and increasing tree cover. In charge of both is Bournemouth Parks Arboricultural Woodland Team, which has worked hard to increase the status and understanding of these trees among other departments and the public. It has worked successfully in a partnership contract with an external contractor for more than 25 years.

There is a total of 20 woodland sites in the borough; 17 are funded through the Forestry Commission’s Woodland Grant Scheme, which has enabled creation of woodland management plans and better access for local people.

The team works within the borough’s Tree and Woodland Strategy and has met all targets in the Government’s Trees in Town 2 document. It also helped the parks department to secure Green Flag status for 19 sites across the borough.

Bournemouth’s arboriculture experts constantly review their methods. Recent innovations have included the Tree Works Request Form for members of the public to request pruning works to council owned trees, a streamlined process that manages expectations and has been successfully used in the Ombudsman process on four separate occasions.

The public can also pay for pruning of council-owned trees that do not warrant council intervention, providing the work is approved by the team’s specialists. They also offer a consultancy service to a range of clients in the public and private sectors - a service particularly popular with local schools.

The team has also developed a Carbon Sequestration Calculator, which quantifies the benefits through carbon sequestration of individual trees or groups of trees. It sells useable cuts of timber, such as live edge planking, posts, boarding or large seat and statue carving, a bi-product of tree surgery, and these are also used by Bournemouth’s in-house landscapers. Waste timber is chipped into high grade biomass fuel used in the council’s plant nursery biomass boiler, earning income through the Renewable Heat Initiative.

The team has strong community engagement, including offering guided tree walks and producing a Tree Trail leaflet which identifies 20 plus specimen trees along a route in a central park in the borough, and is the most popular leaflet in the central Tourist information Centre. It also encouraged and judges a tree category in Bournemouth In Bloom and uses social media to encourage the public to water young street trees during dry spells, an innovation which has been successful in past drought periods.


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