Newcastle Council plan to update their tree policy

Specialist inspectors plan to survey tens of thousands of trees as Newcastle Council looks to modernise its approach to environmental management. 

The authority is currently responsible for around 1800,000 trees and plans to plant an extra 19,000 trees by 2050. 

As part of efforts to ensure that the trees continue to thrive and that new planting helps make the city a greener place, the council is updating its tree policy. 

First published in 2002, and most recently updated in 2019, the ‘Trees Newcastle’ policy sets out how the council manages its tree and hedge stock, with the aim of retaining healthy trees, increasing canopy cover and ensuring a diverse range of species and ages.

brown wooden staircase between trees during daytime

If approved, the Trees Newcastle policy will take effect from August and will immediately lead to the inventory and inspections of trees on council land.

Then, over the next twelve months, the council will start to develop an Urban Forest Plan, which will set out a new long-term vision for trees across the city.

A new trees team, led by an expert trees manager, will also oversee bids for funding, and include the council’s in-house tree inspectors and tree protection officers, leaving the authority’s Local Services arboriculture team to concentrate on the physical maintenance of trees.

Cllr Clare Penny-Evans, cabinet member for climate change and public safety, said: ‘We know our trees are a significant asset, providing environmental, health and economic benefits, and contributing to the beauty and character of where we live.

‘Already we are well ahead of the national average for canopy cover, and our Tree Policy has been a model for councils around the country, so we do not need to make root and branch changes.

‘However, it is only right that, as new technology emerges and industry best practice changes that we look to incorporate that into our plans, for the benefit of our communities.

‘Moving to a ‘feature led’ approach to inspections, with detailed computer models of every tree we have, will allow us to more efficiently target our resources, keeping people safe, protecting our environment against emerging issues such as pests and diseases, as well as enabling planting initiatives which help the city deal with the impacts of climate change and promote the health and wellbeing of our residents.’





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