Doncaster Mayor on new tree policy after felling protests

The borough’s directly-elected mayor, Ros Jones has said the council will adopt a new policy on roadside trees following a number of protests over felling.

Friday, 18th December 2020, 4:45 pm

Work to cut down 64 healthy trees on Middlefield Road brought sustained protests from environmental campaigners after the council said they needed to be felled due to damage to the pavements.

But campaigners said engineering solutions were available and the trees could be kept in place. The council managed to remove 62 out of the 64 before talks with campaigners took place.

The mayor said that the ‘wrong type of trees’ were planted along Middlefield Road and those replacing them will be better suited to that environment.

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Trees on Middlewood Road

The council agreed to review the alternate engineering solutions document shared bycampaigners and to a suspension on all felling until the current tree policy is independently reviewed, before the end of February 2021.

The council also recognised that the existing tree policy ‘needs to be strengthened’ andsaid it needs further revision to include ‘best practice as its standard’ but ‘seek to develop pioneering practice’.

Both parties have committed to working with the Doncaster Nature Alliance to explore other urban forest initiatives that promote increased tree planting, ideally seeking to replant three or four trees to every one removed.

Campaigners, senior officers and Bessacarr ward councillors are due to meet before the New Year following earlier discussions at the end of November.

Mayor Jones said: “We had a tree policy and that’s now been revised and we’re now having people contribute to that.

“The two trees will be looked at and it’s about openness and transparency and these trees were down to be removed possibly as long as two years ago because of different circumstances.

“I’m told that the wrong type of trees were planted along Middlefield Road originally.

“We will do what is appropriate and right and the majority of people living there are also worried about it. This is not a policy about taking up trees, this is about trying to improve a particular area because of the problems which can happen.”

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