Agenda item

Councillor Ashley Baxter

Charter for Trees

This Council resolves:

a)    to adopt the Woodland Trust’s Charter for Trees and the ten principles within it

b)    to develop a Tree Strategy for South Kesteven

[See attachment 13a]


Councillor Baxter presented his motion:


“This Council resolves:


a)    To adopt the Woodland Trust’s Charter for Trees and the ten principles within it

b)    To develop a Tree Strategy for South Kesteven”


In doing so he referred to the district’s historic relationship with trees, including the provenance of the word “Kesteven” and the Carta Foresta, which was an addendum to the Magna Carta and a copy of which was displayed in Lincoln. He also spoke about the role of the Woodland Trust within the district and its Charter for Trees, which was signed in Lincoln 800 years after the Carta Foresta. The firstpart of the motion asked the Council to adopt the Charter for Trees; he indicated that other councils and local authorities had already signed up to the principles, including parishes within South Kesteven. The second part asked the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee to work on the development of a Tree Strategy for South Kesteven. He said he had brought the motion before Council following a request to include trees on the work programme for the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee. The version of the document with which he was supplied had not included the item, so, he stated, he decided to bring the matter to Council. Reference was made to the first meeting of that Committee at which Members agreed that trees, hedgerows and biodiversity would form a key part of its work programme and support the wider climate change agenda. The motion was seconded.


The Chairman of the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee stated that the matter had been included on the work programme however an incorrect version had been circulated to Members, from which the item on trees had been omitted.


Some Members who spoke against the proposition stated that it should have come forward through the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee with an assessment of the potential financial implications. It was suggested that, by going through the overview and scrutiny process, Council would be provided with greater detail and background information that could help inform its decision and ensure that any actions  could be carried out to the best of the Council’s ability. Those members made it clear that they would not be against the Council signing up to the Charter in the future but indicated that needed more information before they could make that decision. They suggested that it might be helpful if the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee invited representatives from the Woodland Trust who could assist Members in their considerations


Other members who spoke referred to tree planting events and initiatives in which they had been involved and their previous experience of working with the Woodland Trust.


Members who spoke in support of the motion stated that the Council agreeing to support the principles within the Charter for Trees would not commit the Council to expenditure, but show support to the Woodland Trust, a key organisation within the district and demonstrate the Council’s commitment to protecting and promoting trees.


The proposer of the motion was given the opportunity to sum up. In doing so he said that the matter should not be political and there was no reason why people should not vote in support of it and that there was no cost to signing-up to the Charter. He suggested that if the Council agreed to sign-up to the Charter it would bolster the work programme of the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee.


A request was made that a recorded vote be taken. As the request was supported by more than ten Members of the Council, in accordance with Article 4.13.4 of the Council’s Constitution, a recorded vote was taken.


For: Councillors Baxter, Bisnauthsing, Clack, Dilks, Fellows, Hansen, Kelly, Knowles, Moran, Steptoe and Wheeler (11)


Against: Councillors Bellamy, Benn, Bosworth, Chivers, Cooke, Cottier, Crawford, Dawson, Dobson, Exton, Goral, Griffin, Jeal, Kingman, Manterfield, Mason, Dr.  Moseley, Reid, Robins, Jacky Smith, Adam Stokes, Ian Stokes, Thomas, Trotter, Ward, Hilary Westropp, Woolley and Linda Wootten (28)


Abstain: Councillors Broughton, Milnes, Sandall, Selby, Judy Smith, Stevens, Trollope-Bellew and Whittington (8)


(Councillor Ray Wootten was not present in the meeting room when the recorded vote was taken)


The vote was lost and it was AGREED:


That the Council did not support the motion submitted by Councillor Baxter.

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