An update from our CEO, Sara Lom
A number of you have said that you’d like to hear more about our work with the Government’s new Tree Champion, Sir William Worsley, plus our contribution to the Network Rail review, and news from the Tree Council Trustees. So here are three short updates on those topics, with some links where you can find further information.
The Tree Champion: We had our first, positive meeting with Sir William Worsley in July. The round-table forum focused on the role of urban trees; driving forward tree planting (1m urban trees); opportunities to secure more government funding on the basis of the environmental, health and other benefits trees provide; the need for clear, robust felling policies developed in consultation with local communities; how to bring different government departments together to find solutions; the importance of sharing case studies and examples of best practice. The discussions were lively and productive with representatives from a dozen organisations from all around the UK, including many Tree Council Members. You can find more background to the review and the terms of reference here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/tree-champion-to-expand-englands-woodland
Network Rail Review: John Varley was announced in July as Chair of the Ministerial Review of Network Rail, set up by Rail Minister, Jo Johnson. We’re contributing at roundtable discussions and also via more detailed, one-to-one conversations with John Varley. Our key messages are to promote trials and use of coppicing, pollarding and hedge-laying as important alternatives to tree removal. We believe these techniques that retain woody vegetation and help create a bio-diverse ‘woodland edge’ are the best way to manage for wildlife at the same time as ensuring safety. We’re suggesting greater clarity on policy relating to nesting birds and improved training in Tree ID and ecology, so Network Rail employees can make well-informed decisions and feel confident when questioning contractors. Finally, we’re recommending improved communications - sharing case studies and working more closely with local communities. With 20,000 miles of railway corridors, Network Rail is one of Britain’s largest landowners, so any improvements introduced following the review will have a big impact on the environment, wildlife and the community. You can find the terms of reference for the Review here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/network-rail-vegetation-management-chair-appointment-and-terms-of-reference
Tree Council Trustees: The Trustees were delighted to receive the summary of the National Tree Warden Co-ordinators’ Conference, Birmingham, and to discuss the findings at their July meeting. Their commitment to the Tree Warden Network continues stronger than ever and they’ve asked me to share with you their thanks and their great appreciation for everything you do to ensure the success of the partnership. As discussed at the conference, our aim is to strengthen and develop the Network and to provide more training and resources as soon as funding permits.