Clive Stevens, chair of BristolTreeForum says:
Whether you agree with it or not, one of the side effects of the Government’s cuts on Bristol City Council will be no more tree planting unless it is funded separately.*
Despite representations, the Mayor and his team have decided that tree planting is lower priority than care for the poor, the vulnerable and residents’ parking; maybe you agree. So where does that leave us in leafy Redland and Cotham, will we do nothing and slowly see our area deforested?
Of course not! But it has to be us, the people, who now lead the show. So earlier this year, the BCR Neighbourhood Partnership agreed a scheme whereby any persons, neighbours or group can apply to get a new street tree planted; to replace a stump, a dead tree or go in an old pit covered over by tarmac or into a grass verge. Just contact me and I can tell you the process. You need to come up with some money but the Neighbourhood Partnership will double that (so you only pay a third). The good people of Edgecumbe Road seem to be quick off the mark and are looking to replace four trees. And the even quicker people of HSBC Bank, Whiteladies Road, have already paid for and received their stump replacement tree. Thanks to Councillor Anthony Negus for organising that one.
At this stage please just identify and email me where the stumps and opportunities are. If I get two or more suggestions from the same street I’ll put you in touch with one another and then we can work out how to raise the money for your road.
As you can imagine, dealing with the council is never easy and they haven’t yet confirmed this years’ prices but they promise they will soon. Once a site is agreed and paid for, they will organise a contractor to come along and grind out the old stump, put in a new tree with stakes and wiring, mulch and water it for three years (we are seeing if we can get a discount if residents do the watering).
It was Woofie Smith who said “power to the people” but rather than Marxism in Tooting it seems it will be Treeism in Redland and Cotham where his vision finally comes true!
* The much touted Tree PiPs program (trees for every school child) has been funded via grants, sponsorship and one off council money all linked to 2015. It finishes in the spring of 2016 and will not include street trees in residential areas.