Tree Planting Plans
A major tree planting programme for the St Albans District is to be developed – with residents and community groups being asked to help out.
The scheme will be on the same scale as that of Heartwood Forest, near Sandridge, which saw 600,000 trees planted over ten years.
St Albans City and District Council is to devise a fully-costed plan for its five-year-long initiative scheduled to begin in December next year.
Residents and local groups will be invited to contribute to the scheme by planting, sponsoring the new trees or suggesting where they should be planted.
Other sources of funds are to be approached including the Woodland Trust and the Government’s Urban Tree Challenge Fund.
A report on the management and maintenance of trees was made to a meeting of the Council’s Cabinet on Thursday 19 December.
Cabinet instructed officers to develop the tree-planting programme and encourage contributions from the community.
The Council currently manages 12,400 trees and 750 tree groups located on its land across the District.
From April next year, it will take over responsibility from Hertfordshire County Council for a further 27,700 trees on public roads in built-up areas within the District.
In a further change, the Council will also increase the frequency of tree surveys from three years to 18 months.
This is to reduce the risk of trees causing damage to properties and vehicles or accidental injury to people.
The Council currently has a budget of £21,500 for tree planting with December to February being the best time to plant to ensure long-term survival.
Several volunteer groups have already expressed an interest in planting new trees while some residents have volunteered to become Tree Wardens, acting as the eyes and ears of their neighbourhood.
Councillor Jamie Day, Portfolio Holder for Planning, said:
Trees have many fantastic benefits for the environment. For example, they reduce the amount of harmful CO2 in the atmosphere and provide a natural habitat for birds and other wildlife to thrive.
We have made tackling climate emergency in the District one of our main objectives and a major tree planting programme will help us achieve that ambition.
We hope to have this underway at the start of the next tree planting season in December next year. It is a highly ambitious project as we are talking about tens of thousands of trees.
We’re faced with the tough challenges of both producing a detailed tree planning programme and obtaining the necessary finance. However, I am confident we will have massive support from our residents and we will be seeking to involve them in all aspects of the project.
Picture: Councillor Chris White, the Council Leader and Portfolio Holder for Climate and Environment, helps with tree planting at the Caesars Road Playing Field, Wheathampstead, flanked by contractor John O’Conner’s staff, Hugh McHarg (left) and Lawrence Lambourne. The Council plans to plant in excess of 300 trees during the planting season.
Cllr White, who planted a Himalayan Birch, said:
I was delighted to help with some of our early planting as we look forward to doing much more in the future.