Three minutes to save 114 trees: includes guest blog from Russell Miller (and if you have longer than 3 minutes)

What would you say if you only had 3 minutes to save 114 mature trees?

The text below is a good start which Russell Miller relayed to the planning committee last week. Whilst councillors weren't listening, the evidenced based commentary will still be here when the natural environment and our children's future is firmly cemented under concrete.

He attests: -

'However you spin it the fact is this development is bad for climate change, bad for wildlife, bad for air quality and increases car dependency. It fails local strategic planning policy objectives on Climate Change, Biodiversity, Air Quality, Walking and Cycling, Trees, as well as the GLA London Plan and Environment Strategy.

1. St Ann’s has a remarkable collection of trees, in an area of currently low (18.7%) canopy cover. This proposal’s will result in ‘the loss of 114 trees, 30 tree groups and 260.5m hedgerow’ –representing nearly a hectare of canopy cover. That’s nearly 2 football pitches!

2. Remember the 40C temperatures in July 2022. Heat at tarmac and pavement levels is much higher. This development would produce a dangerously hot environment of roads and paving. We know temperatures will continue to rise and that green has to replace grey, not the other way round. Haringey residents are already dying from Climate Change, and this will make matters worse. Tree canopy is vital in mitigating Climate Change.

3. Current planning policy (Haringey’s and the Mayor’s London Plan) states that developments should retain existing trees of value. But this development will remove 112 healthy trees, mostly Category B trees: 88% with life expectancy of over 20 years, and 47% over 40 years. Much of it to provide roads for cars.

4. We could have a low car development in accordance with Haringey’s new Walking and Cycling Action Plan - but instead we will have 167 additional parking spaces and a new road system in a Low Traffic Neighbourhood. We lose trees and grass to gain hardstanding, tarmac and cars.

5. Haringey’s Air Quality Action Plan notes that air pollution particularly affects children and older people - and that areas with poor air quality are often the least affluent, areas like St Ann’s Ward. The loss of green canopy along St Ann’s Road will further impact on Air Quality.

6. Recognising the health issues associated with cars your Climate Action Plan, promotes ‘ambitious carbon reduction’.

7. In addition to the huge losses of mature trees, we also lose the Warwick Gardens boundary habitat, a north south wildlife corridor that links the rail side SINC to Chestnuts Park. Old trees and connectivity are core to halting biodiversity decline and this development trashes both. Adding swales and green roofs does not compensate for loss of mature habitat and ground level vegetated wildlife corridors. Threatened species like slow worms, hedgehogs and toads will suffer loss of habitat because this development favours cars and roads. ' Please follow clear planning policy guidance and reject this proposal.

If you have longer than 3 minutes take a look at this planning application

Reading Council planning application Number: 221909

Great planning application decision on the Civil War Kings Spy Oak at Caversham. Objections from Woodland Trust, Ancient Tree Forum and the council officer all excellent.

  Reading Council's "Natural Environment Consultation Response" doc by

Sarah Hanson, Natural Environment Officer, Planning Policy considerations NPPF Para 180 states: 

"When determining planning applications, local planning authorities should apply the following principles: c) development resulting in the loss or deterioration of irreplaceable habitats (such as ancient woodland and ancient or veteran trees) should be refused, unless there are wholly exceptional reasons and a suitable compensation strategy exists;" and the ‘wholly exceptional’ reasons being stated as: "63 For example, infrastructure projects (including nationally significant infrastructure projects, orders under the Transport and Works Act and hybrid bills), where the public benefit would clearly outweigh the loss or deterioration of habitat." 

The development does not meet the ‘wholly exceptional’ reason hence is contrary to the NPPF.

see also Bristol Tree Forum website for info on Biodiversity Net Gain pertaining to trees and many additional topics.


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