Helping councils meet demand for environmental improvements
A Tree Strategy for Brighton and Hove City Council brings benefits to the environment and meets public interest in the green agenda.
The green infrastructure is becoming an increasingly important consideration for municipal councils. With public consultation having put the environmental agenda high on its priority list, Brighton and Hove City Council (BHCC) has blazed the trail by drawing up a highly detailed Tree Strategy, in consultation with Connick Tree Care.
BHCC had an outdated tree and woodland strategy, which had never been adopted. They recognised the need to produce a new strategy, fit for purpose to meet today’s environmental standards and public expectations. As well as setting out policies and procedures for maintaining the green infrastructure, BHCC’s new Tree Strategy stands as a defendable statement that they can refer to a when questions are asked about their tree management; eg decisions to remove a tree or not to remove a tree and evidence of due care having been taken in inspecting trees in the event that a tree falls over.
We began by reviewing the previous, unadopted strategy, along with current policies and procedures within the Council’s arboricultural team. We met with internal stake holders to ascertain what they required and provided guidance on the funding required to manage the Council’s tree stock, taking into consideration new threats such as Ash Die Back.
We carried out a review of current best practices in regards to tree management and tree planting and identified any issues in regards to the management of trees within the city. This review identified significant shortages within the tree department: in staff, funding and tree planting in relation to trees removed, which was resulting in a reduction in tree numbers within the city.
We assessed the Council’s current planting processes and cost for memorial trees, as well as undertaking a cost analysis of this and guidance for planting pit design. We provided a list of possible tree species that would tolerate the local environment, assessed the appropriate frequency for surveying the tree stock across all departments and formed a recommendation for carrying out the surveying.
We provided BHCC with a five year funding forecast for the tree works programme, which included all surveying and tree works. We wrote up our findings, forecasts and recommendations in a 50 page strategy document for the Council to take to public consultation.
While the public consultation has been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, BHCC has been able to effect a number of positive changes as a result of the Tree Strategy. The Council’s tree department has been enlarged to be able to successfully manage and promote trees within the city. The Council has a clear approach to surveying its tree stock to ensure it meets its duty of care. And it has obtained additional funding to support these improvements.
Very importantly, the Council now has a strong and diligent Tree Strategy to support its arboricultural management decisions and to demonstrate that it takes its responsibilities seriously when it comes to tree care and its impact on the public.
“Connick’s work on supporting the production of the Brighton and Hove City Council draft Tree Strategy has ensured that the key challenges facing the Council around tree management, and the arboriculture service, have been identified and presented in a clear and concise format. Their role as consultants on this process has been invaluable, with a robust and frank approach, detailing the realities facing the service. We look forward to the publication of the document following a public consultation and completion of the finalised strategy.”
Peter Small, Arboricultural Manager, Cityparks, Brighton & Hove City Council