This report provides an overview of tree planting activities within South Kesteven. It also provides an update and sets out options in relation to the ambitions that emerged from the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee discussion on the 8 June 2021.
The Cabinet Member for Commercial and Operations presented a report which provided an update on tree planting ambitions within the District. The report outlined the work towards the promotion of tree planting and projects taking place within South Kesteven. It included an update and summary on the collaboration work with Lincolnshire County Council.
The Cabinet Member for Commercial and Operations referred Members to the report’s appendix which outlined four sites managed by South Kesteven and possible sites for tree planting proposals. It was stressed that consultation with stakeholders would be essential in relation to the sites.
Members made the following questions and comments:
· South Kesteven District Council were responsible for around 6,000 trees and it was felt that the budget for planting trees should be included within the Climate Change Budget.
The Cabinet Member for Commercial and Operations confirmed that the Committee could recommend budgeting options for tree planting. The Climate Action Reserve Budget was available for expenditure in relation to additional tree planting. It was confirmed that trees which are the responsibility of South Kesteven District Council area are mapped, as are Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs). It was noted that every TPO in the South Kesteven District was listed on the Council’s website.
· A concern was raised regarding the designated areas for developments set out in the Local Plan, in relation to trees. The Member referred to the possibility that developers remove trees prior to submitting a Planning Application.
· The Cabinet Member for Commercial and Operations confirmed that this could occur before the Council had any involvement, unfortunately the Council had no statutory responsibility to deal with such matters before a Planning Application was submitted. Raising the issue in a public meeting was a good way of showing awareness to the public and how they could address the problem.
· The Chairman stated that she had been provided with a list of TPOs in her Ward, prior to a development taking place and asked about the working relationship with Lincolnshire County Council in reference to the Treescape Fund.
The Director for Commercial and Operations confirmed that there was a positive working relationship with Lincolnshire County Council (LCC). An application had been submitted by LCC on behalf of a consortium of Lincolnshire Council’s, in relation to the Treescape fund which only upper tier Councils could access. The application had been a success and work was currently ongoing regarding how the funds would be distributed within the County, this included both District and Parish Councils. South Kesteven’s share of the grant fund (£169,000 for the whole County) had yet to be confirmed and would be determined based on the plans brought forward for the project.
· What options were available for the Queen’s Green Canopy initiative and how that would be promoted.
· A query was raised regarding the map of Bourne shown in the appendix to the report, as it was different to the other locations.
The Director for Commercial and Operations confirmed that the Queen’s Green Canopy initiative would be a national campaign and current proposals were being explored which included how it was to be promoted. Members would be informed, once they have been confirmed.
The Cabinet Member for Commercial and Operations confirmed that the team had struggled to identify suitable areas in Bourne to plant trees.
The report mentioned an ‘Emergency Tree Fund’, Members asked what would qualify for that fund.
The ‘Emergency Tree Fund’ was the name that the Woodland Trust used and linked back to the climate and ecological emergency.
Members discussed the use of the £20,000 climate change reserve fund allocated to the Committee and whether the budget was rolled over to the next financial year if it wasn’t utilised. The Chairman stated that the Committee had to put forward a request for the budget on an annual basis. The previous year’s budget had been allocated to upgrading lighting in the Guildhall to low energy LEDs.
A member put forward a proposal that the £20,000, allocated within the Climate Action Reserve Fund, for the current financial year be used for tree planting initiatives. The proposal was seconded and following a vote it was AGREED.
It was confirmed that the process of the fund allocation would include consultation with relevant SKDC ward Councillors and copied to town council clerks. It was hoped that views on the proposed sites would come forward. Following the consultation, decisions would be taken on which schemes would be progressed.
To confirm proposals to the Members on the Queen’s Green Canopy initiative, once they were known.
1. Noted the positive progress and opportunity to continue to work together with Lincolnshire County Council, to increase the speed and scale of tree planting across the County.
2. Noted the ongoing work with the Woodland Trust and continued opportunities to work jointly, including reviewing grant funding opportunities.
3. Noted the limited space that South Kesteven District Council had to develop additional tree planning on amenity spaces.
4. Endorsed the enhancement to the tree replacement approach for Council managed trees to plant at least two trees for any trees that need to be removed.
5. Explored the best models for future long-term stewardship of trees and landscaping within large scale developments.
Considered the four outlined options for the establishment of new trees on Council managed open spaces, and recommend to Cabinet how these could be funded, subject to consultation with local stakeholders.
That the Committee agreed the allocation of £20,000 from the Climate Action Reserve Fund to enable tree planting to occur this tree planting season, if possible.