Cambridge City Council has circulated its latest list of proposed tree works to councillors. I have spoken at two council meetings now asking for better advance notice of the council’s intentions with respect to the city’s trees however it does not yet make its plans available publicly.
I have reviewed the current list and most of the work appears routine and sensible though there is a lack of any explanation of the justification and reasoning behind the work. While there are dots of paint on the condemned trees, there are no notices up explaining the council’s plans and inviting comments.
There are no proposals to fell substantial established trees on the scale seen recently across the city; but a handful of smaller younger trees are to be lost.
A large number of trees at the Vinery Road recreation ground (aka Romsey Recreation Ground) are to be “coppiced”. I believe this means cut down to ground level, with the hope new shoots will grow back from the stump. I would expect that residents of Vinary Park have been asked if they approve of the removal of the trees just behind their back garden fence. I think that having some areas where trees are maintained by coppicing in the city is a perfectly reasonable thing to do though I do wonder if such an intensive management technique is simply creating work for the huge team of tree officers. Having looked at the area I also wonder if they’ve just picked on the trees which it is easiest to get at with their chainsaws.
The trees to be felled have been marked with white paint:
I’d be inclined to leave the more substantial of those trees alone.
Further trees on Woodhead Drive (listed on the proposed works as being on Hopkins Close) are to go. While I’d be inclined to leave them alone, I can see how a justification for thinning out this cluster of trees could be made in order to allow one or two to grow well. We do not know the council’s thinking on this though. A cluster of small trees might actually be preferable and less likely to cause damage to the wall, house and pavement nearby.
The city council does a huge amount of excellent routine work on trees; I discussed how well work had been done on the park off Carlyle Avenue in March with a tree officer just last week. I think it needs to be a lot more open with city residents about what it is doing and why.
Where decisions are made to fell large numbers of trees, or to remove substantial and valuable trees I think elected councillors ought be the ones making the decisions rather than officers.