London borough's tree wardens say summer pruning "bad for health"

A dispute has broken out between tree wardens and a London borough over its summer street tree pruning programme.

Image: Malcolm Manners (CC BY 2.0)
Image: Malcolm Manners (CC BY 2.0)

Following pruning work by Wandsworth Borough Council in two Putney streets, Wandsworth Tree Wardens Network representative Mary-Claire Mason said: "Summer tree pruning is harmful to health. The leaves in the green tree canopy fight pollution cleaning the air for us as well as other important benefits such as shading and cooling the air."

The work in one of the streets had left it "pretty much stripped of green," she said, adding that a recent paper published by the network set out how trees protect health.

"Removing the green summer canopy when we most need it is a policy which has to be urgently revised," she said. "We want the council to ensure that tree pruning takes place in the autumn/winter period. Any extra cost would be outweighed by the public health benefits."

A Wandsworth council representative said: "In order to keep street trees in long-term good health they do require pruning every so often, and this is done as part of our long-standing and expert-led routine maintenance programme.

"We spend part of the year planting new trees and the remainder looking after those that need to be properly maintained to ensure their long term health and growth."


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