All tree removals halted on Doncaster streets following protests - but council says its entitled to carry out the work

Doncaster Council has stopped all its tree removal work while a review is completed.

Tuesday, 4th February 2020, 5:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 4th February 2020, 5:05 pm

Protests over work to remove trees at Middlefield Road, in Bessacarr, occurred last week, although some residents support the moves to remove trees whose roots are causing pavements to rise and damaging walls.

Today, the authority announced a ‘short term pause of all street tree works’, but said it was legally entitled to remove trees under section 9 of the Forestry Act 1967.

Council director of economy and environment, Peter Dale, said: “Given the importance of our climate change and biodiversity agenda, and our plans to align our tree policy to our draft Environmental Strategy, we have decided to have a short-term pause of all street tree works across the borough, subject to exceptional circumstances, such as health and safety risks.

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Workmen on Middlefield Road, Besscarr, where trees have been removed
Workmen on Middlefield Road, Besscarr, where trees have been removed

“While no further trees will be removed on Middlefield Road during this period of time, we are very mindful of, and respect the views of the residents expressed in a series of consultations, which were very supportive of the tree replacement scheme. Therefore, our teams will continue to remove existing stumps from the ground and replant the more suitable maple trees which were identified for the area.

“Removing the existing paving flags, installing a root barrier (an underground wall that stops plants growing into walls and pavements) and the laying of new tarmac on footways, next to the replacement trees, will also continue as planned. We will be setting up a resident liaison group to better engage as this work progresses.

“While the Middlefield Road tree replacement and footway resurfacing scheme was carefully thought through, there are some lessons to be learned. It became clear some local residents and external parties felt very strongly about this subject and on reflection, there are areas we can improve such as the time between consultation and action. We also recognise the need to take stock and review our tree policy, which acts in the best interests of trees across Doncaster.”

The council says it wants to preserve trees and plants twice as many as it removes and wants to develop a ‘sustainable urban forest’.