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Lib Dem opposition calls for better tree planting and maintenance

September 15, 2021 8:47 PM
Councillor Ashley Bowkett wants to see improvements to the tree maintenance budgetsLiberal Democrats on Gloucester City Council have laid down a challenge to the Conservatives to plant more trees in the city and improve tree maintenance budgets.
Their challenge will be heard at a meeting of the city council when it meets on September 23.
Councillor Ashley Bowkett, who represents Barnwood, will move a motion calling for the cabinet member Richard Cook to: -
· identify ways the council can do more to support tree planting and maintenance
· identify further city council funds for this purpose
· encourage the county council to boost funding for highway trees, and
· set targets and map them against such further funding so that the 2020 Strategy for Gloucester can be fulfilled.
Councillor Bowkett said: "Trees are an essential part of the high-quality green infrastructure that our communities value, yet the current council budget allocated to this is acutely inadequate.
"This is putting considerable pressure on the city and county council to meet the commitments laid out in the 2020 Gloucestershire Tree Strategy.
"That's why I'm calling on the cabinet member for the environment to detail what more can be done to support tree planting and maintenance in Gloucester, mapped alongside more appropriate funding to support it."
Cllr Sebastian Field, who represents Podsmead, will second the motion.
"The Conservative administrations at both the city and county councils have agreed that there is a climate emergency and that one of the ways to help combat this is through increased planting of trees." he said.
"Trees provide shade and attractiveness, as well as storing carbon and increasing O2 levels. But the Conservative administration has so far failed to achieve enough towards their targets on tree planting.
"As well as planting them though, trees need to be pruned and maintained, otherwise they become a nuisance or danger, and residents get irritated.
"There are many areas of Gloucester, including Podsmead, where residents make requests for maintenance of trees but there isn't an adequate budget. The Conservatives need to get real and allocate more money to tree maintenance, which is something the Liberal Democrats have been calling for a long time."
- The motion, Gloucester Tree Planting and Maintenance, says:
"This council notes the importance of planting more trees in Gloucester and understands that those saplings together with mature trees will also need to be maintained. It welcomes the guiding principles of the 2020 Gloucestershire Tree Strategy, valuing the many benefits that a high-quality green infrastructure brings to our communities, which includes growing trees near where people live and work.
This council recognises that while there are valuable contributions from development and external grants, for example, the Forestry Commission, there is a pressing shortfall in tree planting, maintenance and resources, the fixed budget per financial year is acutely inadequate, and this status quo has already placed increasing pressure on achieving the objectives of the 2020 strategy.
As such, this Council calls on the Cabinet member to provide members with a written report, delivered in good time for members to consider before the next budget, that will:
(a) identify ways we can do more to support tree planting and maintenance
(b) identify further City Council funds for this purpose
(c) encourage the County Council to boost funding for Highway trees, and
(d) set targets and map them against such further funding so that the 2020 Strategy for Gloucester can be fulfilled.
In essence, this council agrees that preparing a more realistic annual budget to commence from the next financial year is vital to support the planting and maintenance of trees and increase biodiversity in Gloucester."
Proposed by Ashley Bowkett
Seconded by Sebastian Field