Local street trees face a growing threat of being cut down due to fears over possible compensation claims and breaches of health and safety rules. The Government has published a long-delayed report on urban trees, following a previous report in the 1990s. The new survey reveals that:
· trees are being cut down at a faster rate than they are being planted, so the number of trees in towns is declining;Giles McNeill, Nettleham Parish Council said:
· fears of insurance claims from subsistence or health and safety are leading to the chopping down of trees; and
· because of funding pressures, many councils are having to cut back on tree maintenance – in turn, increasing the scope for compensation claims, and forcing town halls into the ‘quick fix’ of chopping down trees.
“West Lindsey District Council’s tree officers do a good job in difficult circumstances. Yet the Government’s own report shows how Whitehall is failing to stop the spread both of the ‘compensation culture’ and the heavy-handed application of health and safety rules.
“Trees are vital to the greening of West Lindsey’s town and village environments and improving quality of life. But alarm-bells are ringing. Our roads and cherished leafy suburbs increasingly face the threat of a chainsaw massacre under Labour.”