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"Can you help us? The current laws that protect trees say that you should first consider "the amenity value of trees.*" It's hard to define "amenity."

 

So we're asking everyone we can reach in our area - those who live, work, play or learn in Wirral - what would make you want to keep a tree protected?

There are some ways to calculate the benefits of a tree: such as our enjoyment of what they look like; how they are good for our health and well-being, shelter us from wind, rain, flood, pollution, urban overheating etc.,

Some of those calculations give tools, like the Helliwell system, to put a cash value on some of these benefits. But that still doesn't tell the full story of why trees matter and are vital in our lives and environment. The latest government guidance, in 2014, accepted that trees are good for climate and nature conservation, but said that those are not reasons enough on their own for preservation and protection (- that would apply to most if not all trees?).

So, what would make you want to have a tree protected and how might you show that the tree provides "amenity" or “the quality of being pleasant or agreeable.”  

One guide to the process says that the issue of amenity is "how highly the trees are regarded by the community as part of the local landscape." But there isn't a ready-reckoner to measure community regard, or is there?

So, if you think of specific trees and groups of trees that could well be in the way of a chainsaw or bulldozer- what could you say about a characteristic of them that makes them "pleasant and agreeable"? In the next few months, we'd like to prompt further discussion, see how we can get a better idea of what trees should be protected by putting in your words what shows some of the actual trees which add to the quality of our lives. It'll be a step on the way to getting better protection for them.

*"Local planning authorities can make a Tree Preservation Order if it appears to them to be ‘expedient in the interests of amenity to make provision for the preservation of trees or woodlands in their area." taken from:

https://www.gov.uk/.../tree-preservation-orders-and-trees..."

 

You can also go online and give your views of trees in general, as part of WBC's survey of what trees we have in Wirral, partly as a baseline for future tree-planting plans. This online survey helps give the council a view of the importance and significance of trees to Wirral's communities. The deadline for replies is 31st October and the link is https://www.wirral.gov.uk/.../trees.../i-trees-eco-study

Speak up for the trees!"

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Click on the image above for Wirral's Tree, Hedgerow and Woodland strategy. The executive summary can be found at this LINK and the report for public consultation can be found HERE

The Strategy for Wirral's Trees, Hedgerows and Woodlands is the result of work by Wirral Tree Warden Network with other members of Wirral Initiative on Trees and Wirral Council with the support, advice and help from Forest Research and especially from the Tree Council. This is a link to a document which was produced for the Council cabinet. The strategy was formally adopted by Wirral Council on 27th July 2020, coming into effect on 5th August 2020:   
"RESOLVED: That

 

(1)  the recommendations of the scrutiny panel’s review of the Wirral Tree Strategy be noted and endorsed:

 

(2)  the Wirral Tree Strategy be noted and endorsed;

 

(3)  the creation of an advisory board made up of Council representatives and partners to monitor progress against the Strategy’s objectives and action plan be approved;

 

(4)  the Director of Neighbourhood Services be authorised to develop the action plan to fully implement the Strategy; and

 

(5)  it be noted that the Tree Strategy can be a material consideration in planning applications and therefore a matter that will be taken into account in delegated officer decision making and decisions of the Planning Committee."

the Tree Strategy Advisory Board brings together Wirral initiative on Trees (including the local Tree Wardens) with other expert and interested groups to meet Council members and staff and review the working of the Strategy, which is a living and evolving way of improving, extending and making better use of Wirral's Treescape

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