In the days when Hove was Hove, there was a specific Hove Borough Council Tree Policy. In the fudgier climate of Brighton & Hove City Council (since 1998), only arboriculture, headed by Di Morgan, and the Tree Protection Order (TPO) along with conservation area protection really controls the matter of….trees.
Trees in Conservation Areas or with a TPO on them require planning consent for pruning, pollarding, felling, etc.
In the face of planning application space greed demolition demands, the commonly adopted strategy for every non TPO/Conservation Area mature tree appears to be: cut it down and plant some saplings. End of. And it is unacceptable.
The drama surrounding the Wheatley Elm in Vernon Terrace, which was to be casually ignored and felled to facilitate a Seven Dials highways redesign, very much brought trees to the fore as an unaddressed issue. By the way, in due course, the tree won.
There is no Green Party tree policy. This is shaming. There is not a thought to the difference and value of a mature tree as compared with a load of saplings (some or all of which will die). In the wake of the Vernon Terrace Wheatley Elm fiasco there are hopes of a policy being put together to recognise and give serious value to mature trees.
Birds do not nest in saplings. Their populations are nosediving. The Green Administration is keen to promote itself and the city as some kind of biosphere hero but cutting down, heavily reducing the tree canopy by pruning street trees to loo brush shape, pollarding, etc. runs counter to that. Trees filter air and produce oxygen. They reduce air pollution.
At full council March 28th, there was apparently 34 minutes of time devoted to the issue of the Wheatley elm and trees in general through public questions, a petition and a council debate.
View the front end of the meeting here
Read the Minutes of that meeting here
Look at Judy Middleton’s history lesson on the origin of Hove’s tree cover here