Local communities to have greater say in protecting local trees

Environment Secretary Michael Gove has today (30/12) announced plans to create greater protections for trees in urban areas.

The proposals would ensure councils can’t cut down street trees without first consulting communities.

The measures reflect the important role trees in towns and cities play in improving our health and wellbeing, as well as providing crucial environmental benefits.

Oak tree at Kings Norton Nature Reserve
Oak tree at Kings Norton Nature Reserve

Launching a consultation on a raft of new forestry measures, the Secretary of State unveiled proposals designed to ensure local people have a bigger say over what happens to the trees in their communities.

The proposals include:

  • Making sure communities have their say on whether street trees should be felled with requirements for councils to consult local residents;
  • Responsibilities on councils to report on tree felling and replanting to make sure we can safeguard our environment for future generations;
  • Giving the Forestry Commission more powers to tackle illegal tree felling and strengthen protection of wooded landscapes.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: “It’s right that the views of local people are at the heart of any decision that affects their community – and the futures of the trees that line their streets are no different. Trees have often been rooted in our towns and cities for many years, and are undoubtedly part of our local heritage.”

“These measures will enhance the protection given to urban trees, ensuring residents are properly consulted before trees are felled and safeguarding our urban environment for future generations.”

This consultation forms part of the government’s ongoing work to protect and promote our precious trees, including their commitment to plant one million trees in our towns and cities in addition to eleven million trees nationwide over the course of this parliament.

Protecting and planting more trees is a key part of the Governments 25-Year Environment Plan, which will ensure we leave this environment in a better state for the next generation.

The consultation opened today (30/12) and closes on 28 February 2019. For more information and to view the consultation visit https://consult.defra.gov.uk/forestry/protecting-trees-and-woodlands