Seaside town set to invest in 1,000 street trees to enhance air quality and street scene

Councillors in Southend-on-Sea are expected to approve the planting of 1,000 new street trees in the Essex town at a meeting next week.

Image: John Fielding (CC BY 2.0)
Image: John Fielding (CC BY 2.0)

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council expects to plant the trees the next three planting seasons through a one-off investment of nearly £320,000.

Cabinet will also discuss on 17 September the development of a new tree policy for the town and interim arrangements for managing trees until a new policy is adopted.

The council has already committed to suspending non-emergency tree removals while officers draw up a new tree policy for the town. It is also measuring the town's current tree canopy cover.

According to the website, Southend currently has canopy cover of 15.6%, putting it around the average for English towns and cities, though ahead of the average for seaside towns which is 13.9%.

If approved by cabinet, a draft policy will be published on the council website in January 2020 for members of the public to have their say, with the new policy expected to be adopted in March 2020.

Cllr Carole Mulroney, cabinet member for environment and planning, said: "My cabinet colleagues and I are passionate about the environment and recognise the important benefits that trees and other planting have on our air quality, the local street scene and our sense of pride of place."

She added: "We have listened to local people and their concerns, and we will continue to work with residents and groups to ensure we are delivering our ongoing aim to maintain and enhance tree coverage across the borough.

"The announcement of 1,000 new trees is just the start, and we are also going to enhance and promote our tree donation scheme, and to work with residents, businesses and groups in the borough to increase that number still further."

The borough already has around 20,000 recorded street trees and a further 8,000 planted in "green corridors" such as cycle ways, bridleways and walking routes.

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