Dangerous trees – meeting agenda published

Sheena Jackson with trees requiring maintenance in Otterwood Lane

The Council have now published a report which could lead to improvements in tree management work in the City.

It suggests updates to the ineffective polices decided 18 months ago which have seen the number of dangerous and overgrown trees in the City multiply

The Council has a map available which it claims shows all public trees and their status. (Click). However, this concentrates on those subject to Tree Preservation Orders or which are in Conservation Areas.

The bulk of complaints about lack of proactive maintenance concern other trees and bushes.

Fungal growth threatening trees in Foxwood Hill

The Council says that it only has resources available to address “emergency storm damage, road blockages, attending as necessary to make safe. In addition “very urgent. dangerous high-risk hazards” such as predicted imminent failures including “full collapse, limbs, decay, defects” are addressed within “3 months” of being reported.

The Council currently has 42 outstanding reports of dangerous hazards such as full collapse, limbs, decay and other defects which it hopes to address “within 6 months”.

So bad has the problem become in some areas, that ward committees have agreed to use part of their delegated budgets to address problems.

No list of outstanding work has been provided in the report but in the Westfield ward, for example, major issues are known to exist in;

  • Acomb Wood (Council owned section near Osprey Close)
  • Wetherby Road
  • Little Green Lane
  • Otterwood Lane
  • Foresters Walk

Nor does the report address the increasing problem of private trees and bushes overgrowing the public highway. In some cases, like Burgess Walk, street lights have been blocked by tree canopies – leaving footpaths dark and with an increased security risk

The report suggests changes to the tree management policy document. It is unlikely that these changes will go far enough to satisfy residents. The work backlog is simply too large.

The use of outside contractors may be necessary if resident’s safety concerns are to be addressed.

The report will be presented to a “decision meeting” taking place on Monday 18th December at 4:30pm. The meeting will be held in the Thornton Room at West Offices.

Residents may make personal representations to the meeting about tree issues but must register to do so before the meeting. The deadline for registering to speak is 5.00pm on Friday, 15 December 2017.  Residents may also submit written representations, but these must be with the Council by 5.00 pm on Thursday, 14 December 2017.

In both cases notice must be sent by Email to: fiona.young@york.gov.uk  or tel: 01904 552030

Tree map covers all of York. Interactive

Tree management – Council to review policies

Its nearly two years since the York Council changed its polices on the maintenance and management of the trees which grow on public land in the City.

At the time, the then Councillor with responsibility for the service, was told that officials had grossly under estimated the number of problems that were caused by overgrown trees and bushes in the City. He didn’t heed the warning.

Dozens of problem cases have since been reported to the Council with little response. Even when the Ward committee has responded to residents demands for action by making funding available for tree loping and replacing dead trees, progress has been ponderously slow.

Overgrown highway hedges are a problem in some locations.

In others private hedges are completely blocking public footpaths

Now we are promised a review of the policy at a meeting which will take place on 18th December.  A different Councillor is now responsible for this service so hopefully some progress will be made.

The notice of the meeting says that “experience has highlighted the need to include additional policy statements on trees in formal landscapes, woodland management and Ward funding for tree care and management”. Indeed.

But trees need to be loped and bushes removed during the autumn/winter period & that time is now upon is.