Six essential things that trees do for us

Trees are an essential part of the urban landscape and scrutiny councillors in Swansea recently heard about the important work that the Council carries out to ensure that trees are protected and preserved. Councillors heard from the Cabinet Member for Enterprise, Development & Regeneration, and officers from the Council’s Landscaping and Parks Services.

Councillors discussed the importance of the Council’s responsibilities for preserving trees and the significant benefits that occur because of urban trees including:

  1. Rainwater inception and reducing flood risk
  2. Enhancing the landscape and bio-diversity
  3. Removal of air pollution
  4. Improving air quality
  5. Reducing the impact of noise pollution
  6. Capturing carbon

For example, the before and after pictures below show the detrimental impact that occurs when trees are removed from a street (NB this example is taken from Sheffield).

Avenue with trees

photo credit: Tom McGourty/SWNS

Avenue without trees

Photo credit Tom McGourty/SWNS







As a consequence of this they felt that it is more important than ever that the Council ensures that it has an effective tree preservation service. They  discussed a range of issues and as a result have identified a number of recommendations to support and improve the service, including:

  1. Consider providing additional temporary resources to ensure that the review of existing Tree Preservation Orders is completed within a shorter timescale
  2. Identify a suitable case for prosecution where a Tree Preservation Order has been breached and, if successful, ensure it is widely publicised
  3. When Tree Preservation Orders have been breached, if prosecution is not possible, ensure that the service rigorously pursues replacement planting or remedial work at the owner’s expense
  4. Ensure that Tree Preservation Orders are placed on Council land prior to sale
  5. Provide Councillors (including community councillors) with a list of Tree Preservation Orders in their wards
  6. Look for ways to promote the value and importance of trees amongst key staff members and the public
  7. Direct the Parks Service to develop a proposal to establish a tree/plant nursery to mitigate costs of purchasing new trees and investigate whether this would be a feasible commercial opportunity
  8. Ensure that other Council departments replant trees that are removed during the course of their work
  9. Develop a tree policy for the whole Council

The Convener of the working group, Councillor David Cole, has written to the Cabinet Member with these recommendations and a response is expected in early June.


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