Lib Dems propose radical front garden tree planting scheme

By Joe Nutt, Sep 07, 2021 9:09

Bristol Liberal Democrats are proposing a radical solution to the loss of tree canopy cover across the city of Bristol.

Liberal Democrat Councillor for Brislington West, Cllr. Andrew Varney, has submitted a motion on the issue at this week’s Full Council. 

Speaking in advance of the meeting, Cllr. Varney said,

“The Mayor has pledged to double tree canopy cover across the city in the coming decades. However, the lack of suitable sites for street trees across the city, together with the high cost of installation makes it difficult to see how this can be achieved.” 

According to the Bristol Tree Forum, the tree canopy cover across Bristol is currently diminishing rather than increasing. 

“That is why I am proposing we investigate the feasibility of setting up a Front Garden Tree Scheme to be run by Bristol City Council. There are potentially many thousands of front gardens across the city which would provide suitable sites for tree planting with nearly all the benefits of street trees but at a fraction of the cost.”

Speaking in support of Cllr. Varney’s proposals, a spokesperson from the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England, said, 

“Bristol is losing its mature trees at an alarming rate, either to make way for development, because of disease, or in some cases because they are perceived to be a nuisance rather than an asset. CPRE in Bristol supports any initiative to encourage residents to plant trees in their gardens to partially mitigate this loss.”

Planting trees, especially street trees, has not only enormous environmental benefits, but also social and economic benefits too. Numerous studies have shown they absorb pollution, reduce the risk of flooding, counter the ‘heat island’ effect of the urban environment, increase biodiversity and provide wildlife corridors, boost economic activity, help with people’s mental health, and even reduce road rage and crime. 

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