Time to have your say on plan for more trees in North Kesteven

Date Published: 11 November 2020

Consultation is underway on plans to make North Kesteven an even better place to live by increasing the number of trees on land owned by the district council by 10% in the short term and by 25% by 2035.

The action is a key part of the authority’s Tree Strategy and all interested parties are being invited to have their say before the plan is formally adopted early next year. The deadline for comments is 5pm on Friday December 4.

Individuals, groups, or organisations can have their say on our tree consultation webpage.

Alternatively you can write to:

Michelle Hoyles,
Development Management,
North Kesteven District Council,
Kesteven Street,
Sleaford,
Lincolnshire
NG34 7EF

Leader of the Council, Cllr Richard Wright said: “Trees are very important and valuable assets with proven benefits linked to climate change, mental and physical health and wellbeing. They provide a range of environmental benefits including reducing flood risk, and air pollution, and they also support biodiversity.

“That is why we want people to comment as this is a very important issue.”

The Council owns approximately 7,750 trees on its public open spaces and many thousands more in its nature reserves and woodlands. The 7,750 trees have a structural value of more than £9.2 million, store almost 2,500 tonnes of carbon and reduce surface water run off by up to 99,000 cubic feet a year.

These figures do not include Whisby Nature Reserve or Truman Wood which are managed by third party organisations on the Council’s behalf. This means that the total environmental benefit of all trees in Council ownership will be significantly greater.

The Tree Strategy also aims to support the Council’s ambitions to maximise tree planting on land it owns and to work with other agencies to increase tree cover across the whole district which is hoped would provide 50 hectares of additional tree canopy cover by 2030.

Cllr Wright said: “This Council has always championed the cause of protecting the environment we live in and that is why we have worked with our residents and businesses over many years to address sustainability issues and opportunities. Increasing the number of trees we have in our district will play a major part in this.

“We also want to improve public access to woodlands, create new woodlands and use trees to improve health and well-being.”

The Council will work on the Strategy with residents, businesses, town and parish councils, the Wildlife Trust, the Environment Agency and the Woodland Trust but the authority also wants to hear from anyone else who would like to help to take the project forward.

The authority accepts that the existing tree level cover in North Kesteven is relatively low and that is because 90% of available land in the area is used for agriculture.

The new Strategy will expect new building developments to retain existing trees wherever possible but if there is no alternative but to remove trees on difficult sites they will have to be replaced on a greater than one-for-one basis.

Cllr Wright said: “Our action on trees is very much part of our drive to become carbon neutral by 2030. As well as planting more trees we will be planting shrubs, hedgerows, meadow grasses and wild flowers which will create interesting places for people to enjoy whilst improving the environment and providing new and enhanced habitats for wildlife.”

Trees along road