What is the tree and woodland survey all about?
The purpose of the survey is to map where the trees are located in the new town estates, their type, overall health, current height and spread, eventual height and spread as well as potential impacts to residents or their properties.
The survey is being done so that we have a full picture of the tree population in our new town estates. The Telford Development Corporation (TDC) planted millions of trees from the late 1960s as part of a plan to create a Forest City.
This forest city would green the industrial landscape as Telford New Town was developed. This wide scale planting centred on the borough’s New Town estates and included a range of slow growing native trees such as oak, beech, pine, chestnut as well as fast growing trees such as alder, willow and poplars.
These fast growing trees were planted as a nursery crop to provide a quick impact of landscape trees and to shelter the slower growing natives from the wind and heat to help them establish and take over. The nursery crop were planted with a view to being removed as the slower growing trees matured. The phased removal of the nursery crop over the years has not been enough to allow the natives to flourish and they have begun to dominate some parts of the New Town Estates.
The findings from the survey will help us to refresh our current tree management programme and tree works schedule going forward. As resources are limited, this planned approach is more important than ever.
Telford & Wrekin Council took over the maintenance of the trees from Wrekin Urban and District councils in 1998.
We hold information on the tree population and undertake tree management works. Our approach now is to take stock and update our tree management plan for the wellbeing of our tree population and communities.
If you are looking after the trees, why were they damaged/lost in
the recent storms and snowy weather?
Trees suffer unpredictable damage when extreme weather hits and there is little that can be done to plan for this.
The survey work will, however, provide us with a health check on all of the trees in the identified areas, including any damaged or weak limbs that need to be removed.
The survey will focus on 11 wards in the south of the borough, which is where the TDC planted the majority of trees.
The 11 wards are:
- Dawley and Aqueduct
- Hadley and Leegomery
- Madeley and Sutton Hill
- Malinslee and Dawley Bank
- Oakengates and Ketley Bank
- The Nedge
- St Georges
We are starting with these wards because these areas are where the majority of trees were planted in the 1960s onwards. Households are most affected by trees in these areas, as the houses are closer together and generally have smaller gardens. A large number of complaints about trees reported to the Council also come from these areas.
The survey is the first stage of refreshing the approach to our ongoing tree management programme.
Is this just a way for the Council to cut down trees for ‘safety reasons’ to reduce ongoing maintenance costs?
It is not our intention to cut down any trees to reduce ongoing maintenance costs.
The Council is committed to enhancing the tree stock to continue to develop the Forest City ethos. The survey will identify trees in poor condition that have the potential to cause damage or harm and which require urgent maintenance work or removal.
The survey will also identify the nursery stock trees that need maintenance work or removal in order to allow our native trees to flourish. In addition, it will identify any need to thin groups of trees and woodlands for the long term benefit of the remaining trees and habitat. This is good tree management practice, and is a practice that we already follow.
The survey work will take three months to complete. We then need to work through the findings which will then help us to update our tree management plan for a new service contract that starts in April 2019.
We will ensure that we consult with local town/parish councils, community groups and residents in relation to any major work that is planned to be undertaken in local neighbourhoods.
Where unsafe or unsuitable trees are removed, we will consider planting new, more suitable ones in their place. There are also plans to recognise the borough’s forest city legacy by inviting communities to join us in ‘right tree in the right place’ planting schemes as part of the Telford 50 celebrations.
We fully appreciate the rich and diverse habitat our trees and woodlands offer wildlife and our policy is to keep them in good health. Any tree works needed will be decided on a case by case basis that takes a balanced account of biodiversity and safety issues. Most of the tree stock is of the same age.
The tree management programme will seek to create a good mix of ages within the tree stock. This will increase wildlife habitats by providing new habitats and allow for habitat continuity as trees naturally die.
Our policy is to clear trees that block roads/footpaths, but leave any that aren’t causing an access issue as they are a great habitat for wildlife.
Fallen timber creates habitat for a variety of wildlife including birds, frogs, hedgehogs, small mammals, invertebrates and fungi which in turn support overall biodiversity.
We know that tree felling can look awful to start with, but nature is an amazing thing and quickly takes care of things.
Trees play an important role in the environment; they improve air quality, reduce noise, soften the built environment, reduce urban sprawl, provide wildlife havens and food sources, add colour and are beautiful to look at.
Not everyone wants to see trees removed and the Council has a responsibility to ensure a balance is maintained. If you have an issue or concern in relation to a particular tree please report this to us:
This is outside of the Council’s tree management remit, but is something that could be tackled under planning legislation. Please view details and advice on what to do.
Where wood is removed from site, it is either chipped for mulch for use on Council owned parks and green spaces or sold on for alternative use, such as biomass fuel.
Not all areas are covered in this round of surveys, but our aims is to survey all areas in the near future. We are, however, continuing to respond to specific issues and concerns raised about trees in other parts of the borough. If you have an issue you would like to raise, please report this to us: