COMMENT: Council’s new tree policy a step in right direction

The felling of historic trees in the grounds of St James’ Hospital, Milton, in 2016, could quite easily have passed people by were it not for the Keep Milton Green campaign.

Tuesday, 26th March 2019, 5:37 pm
Updated Wednesday, 27th March 2019, 4:40 pm

More than 150 people from across the city banded together in shock that the ancient trees were chopped, following approval by Portsmouth City Council.

Since then it’s been clear people will not simply stand by when the green lungs of this heavily built-up city are under threat.

That has led to ugly, and dangerous, scenes with people throwing themselves in front of chainsaws and even death threats being sent to councillors.

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A step too far, you may say, but that is how passionate people in Portsmouth feel about our precious trees.

There has been a huge amount of mistrust from the public towards the council after fellings and something had to be done to address that.

Often you do not realise a tree was there until it’s gone. And there have been many examples when people have realised only too late that tree markers in their community are set for the chop.

Three years on from the scenes outside St James’ Hospital, the city council has vowed to keep the public informed.

A new policy agreed by the council’s cabinet requires signs to be put in place on any trees that will have significant works carried out, including felling. The notices will include what will happen to the tree, how long it will take, why the work is needed and what type of tree will be replacing it. There will also be contact details for members of the public to contact the council and contractors.

It is only a month-long trial period but it’s a step in the right direction and if it works it will become council policy.

The people of this city have clearly demonstrated their passion to protect what little greenery we have.