The tree that was damaging railings and the footpath on Balfour Street has finally been felled. The Council have also removed accumulated leaf fall. The path is now much safer.
The opened up area to the rear has revealed locations where at least two additional trees could be planted.
The work followed complaints to executive Councillors. The self seeded tree had been reported 2 years ago. It caused considerable damage to the railings and footpath in the interim. It is likely to be some time before the tree stump rots away and allows permanent remedial work to be undertaken on the railings and footpath.
We’ve been unhappy with tree management in York for several years. A new Council policy adopted in 2016 failed to address the issue while budget cut backs let only a minimal tree maintenance work taking place.
On streets like Wetherby Road and Green Lane a combination the poor historical choice of species type coupled with trees being planted too close to the highway, meant that lopping happened only by attrition. Branches grew until they reached the point where a high sided vehicle knocked them off.
Tree disease is also a problem in the City and this is taking away a lot of the available maintenance resources. Safety is of course of paramount importance.
We were, however, disappointed to have to report a few days ago that a self seeded tree on Balfour Street, reported for attention some 2 years ago, was still causing damage to the adjacent railings and footpath. Council officials claimed that they could not use their budget to appoint a contractor to remove the tree and plant a replacement a few metres away in a more suitable location.
Now there seems to have been a change of heart.
Officials are saying that they will arrange for the work to be done within the next few weeks. A accumulation of leaves on nearby paths will also be swept up
We’re reporting leaf fall issues when they represent a safety issue. No one expects the Council to clear all leaves immediately but footpaths do need some priority.
We reported the self seeded Sycamore tree on Balfour Street several months ago and were promised that it would receive attention. The tree has damaged the adjacent railings and made the adjacent path uneven. The tree needs to be replaced, with an appropriate species, on the ample adjacent site.
In the meantime Balfour Street is covered in tree detritus and needs to be cleared
The Council says that work on the grossly overgrown tree on Balfour Street will be added to their “waiting list”. The self seeded tree is damaging the boundary railings and adjacent footpath. The York Council recently increased the budget available for tree maintenance
The new York Council has rightly decided to plant more trees and expand the areas devoted to wildflowers with good propagation features.
More trees will help , in a modest way, to offset the losses both locally and internationally which have occurred over recent years.
The plight of bees robbed of propagating flowers in urban environments, because of increased hard surfacing and use of herbicides, is well documented.
The Council does however need to understand that such a policy is not a cheap alternative . The authority will need to plant the right species of trees to match the needs of specific locations. Too many well intended “plant a tree in 83” type schemes resulted in the wrong type of tree being planted in the wrong location.
This is particularly true in the case of highway trees (those in verges) where lack of regular maintenance has meant that many have grown the point that they interfere with passing vehicles, overhead plant or neighbouring properties. The only pruning that they get is from high sided vehicles which sooner or later impact on branches often sending them crashing down onto the highway.
High winds can have a similar effect.
The problem can be traced to an inadequate maintenance budget. This was given a modest boost in the Council most recent review.
Before planting more trees – there are plenty of spaces where new mini forests could be created in and around the City – the Council should first sort out its existing stock
For some people wildflowers are synonymous with pervasive weed growth. We have seen the neglect of highways over the summer although some lobbyists have argued that the weed growth will at least be “good for nature”.
We doubt that, with damage to paths and drains likely to pose an expensive hazard.
But there are locations where the Council could proactively plant low maintenance flowers which would greatly increase propagation opportunities.
The authority will need a proactive programme which will need to include a commitment to the long term maintenance of any planted areas.