Report byLee Harris, Executive Director Place Services and Matt Davey, Director of Highways, Transport and Planning.
The Plan seeks to ensure that the trees within the County Council’s ownership are maintained, protected, and improved for current and future generations. It also seeks to influence how the wider tree resource within the County is managed and improved.
28.1 The Committee considered a report by the Director of Highways, Transport and Planning (copy appended to the signed minutes).
28.2 The report was introduced by the Cabinet Member who gave the detailed background to the report and how it links to the Climate Change Strategy.
28.3 Don Baker, Environment and HeritageTeam Manager, Place Services gave a presentation (copy appended to the signed minutes), which gave more specific details.
28.4 The Committee made a number of comments including those that follow:
· Raised concerns about the impact of Ash Dieback, both on the County Council owned land and for West Sussex more generally and whether sufficient resources are available to tackle it.
· Reassured to hear that we are working in partnership with the district and borough councils and the National Park Authority as well as other landowners to provide a consistent approach across the County with regards to trees and the planning system.
· Glad to hear that the Cabinet Member has ensured that there will be funding in the budget to deal with Ash Dieback.
· Asked that the importance of hedgerows in protecting biodiversity is acknowledged and added to the Plan.
· Agreed that mapping for the current tree situation is critical to help protect trees from development and that where trees are planted, they are of the right type, in the right place.
· Asked whether the plan could state that new tree stock should be UK grown to reduce the risk of diseases being imported, and support the domestic economy.
Resolved – That the Committee:-
1. Welcomed the Plan and acknowledged that it was needed.
2. Requested that hedgerows are included.
3. Requested that UK tree stock is used to reduce the risk of bringing in pathogens and to support the UK economy.
4. Noted the programme for dealing with Ash Dieback and welcomed that funding is in next year’s budget.
5. Requested that members have a briefing note on Ash Dieback, when the information becomes available.
6. Asked whether we had adequate resources to implement the Plan and encouraged the Cabinet Member to pursue available external funding.
7. Supports setting up of the Forum and requested that some members of the Committee are members of the Forum. Would also like the Forum members to report back to this Committee.
8. Need to work with the local planning authorities, including the National Park as planning decisions could be in conflict with the Tree Plan.
9. Stated that it is important to get the survey and mapping work done to allow for serious dialogue on protection and future developments.
10.Through the work of the Forum, requested that drainage issues, impact of tree roots on structures, and the role of Tree Preservation Orders are considered on Council trees.
11.Requested that the Donate a Tree scheme is better publicised, and that the Cabinet Member satisfies herself that charges were appropriate.
12.Supported the idea of a leaflet/information sheet for members of the public who wish to plant trees.