A row of mature trees has been felled in Ashley Ward, after planning permission was granted in the area, despite the existence of a tree preservation order (TPO).
Bristol City council allowed PG developers to remove the 8 lime, 5 ash and 2 alder trees on Newfoundland Road to make way for off-street parking and 22 new flats. Rich Fisher, who ran as an independent candidate for Mayor in 2012, had placed the TPO on the trees in 2015. He was told the order would protect the green space there and be difficult to overturn.
Commenting on the felling, Fisher said: “I can only presume the council granted full planning permission. I can find no reference to cutting down the trees at all. This tree-killing attitude is prevalent across the whole city.”
Tree replacement schemes
When developers fell trees they usually pay a compensatory amount, which in this case totals around £13,000. This should then be spent replanting new trees elsewhere.
However, replacing older trees with saplings in new locations is controversial. The original trees in this instance were located next to an M32 slip-road and were therefore important for removing harmful traffic pollutants.
Bristol recently introduced the ‘One Tree Per Child’ initiative, which begins again in November, and aims to plant 6000 trees yearly. According to Fisher, newly planted trees will take around 15 to 20 years to be as effective as mature trees.
‘Build around trees, not through them’
“Preserving mature inner-city trees is important as, not only do they have a positive visual effect, they make the air cleaner and are good for drainage,” Fisher explained. “A mature tree can have around 50 times the leaf density of a replacement tree so has way more benefit. Planting new saplings means waiting 20 years for the same efficiency as fully grown trees.”
Fisher protested that felling trees is unnecessary: “If access is a problem, the tree could be trimmed back. Obviously some trees have to go, but the current rate of decline is unsustainable. Green space is disappearing so we must build around trees, not through them.”
Call for action
Planning permission has been granted for a 3-storey build on Ashley Road, where a row of mature trees will be threatened. Fisher said: “I urge Bristol citizens to get on the case and object to this destruction when the time comes.