Wirral Council has unveiled details of a comprehensive strategy for trees and woodland in the borough and is now putting those plans out for consultation.
The strategy not only incorporates ambitious plans for increasing woodland cover in Wirral to more than 10% in the next 10 years, it also sets out a more robust plan for managing and inspecting all trees that the council is responsible for. It further makes a commitment to replace any tree in the area that has to be felled, for public safety reasons, with at least two more.
These are just a couple of the highlights of the strategy, developed in partnership with a range of stakeholders and partners and which is now out for public consultation.
Cllr Liz Grey, Wirral Council Cabinet member for Environment and Climate Change, said: “I am delighted to launch this detailed, wide-reaching strategy – the first time Wirral has had such a comprehensive plan – and share it with residents and stakeholders for them to provide their opinions and thoughts.
“Everyone agrees that planting far more trees can only be a good thing for the environment and for people’s health and wellbeing. Our commitment to planting is a big part of what we’re doing as a council in response to the climate emergency but the strategy is about much more than just planting trees.
“It’s about investing in expertise, planting the right trees, in the right place; bringing in staff who will help us to monitor and inspect all our trees and advise on the best course of action, should a risk be identified. No-one wants to see trees felled, but often they are diseased and can pose a risk to other trees and people. This strategy provides a commitment that where trees have to be felled, they will be replaced by at least two more.
“The strategy also commits us to communicating better with people about the reasons why we make particular decisions around trees.”
Under the plans closer working arrangements will be established with partners and other external specialists to ensure that the work being done in Wirral is contributing to wider initiatives and aims.
Cllr Grey adds: “We will work more closely with Mersey Forest and be an integral part of the development of the Mersey Community Forest and the Great Northern Forest with the Woodland Trust. We will work with local, regional and national stakeholders to share best practice and knowledge around trees.”
Included in the strategy is a recognition that while not all trees in the borough are the council’s responsibility, the same checks and protections should extend to trees on private land. To that end, the Council-wide Enforcement Policy will be reviewed with a commitment to investigating all allegations of offences relating to trees and ensure appropriate action is taken whenever necessary.
The consultation process closes on 20th December.