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Bristol to consider new approach towards city’s trees

Enhancing the care of Bristol’s trees and expanding the city’s planting programme will be among proposals considered by the Mayor and Cabinet next week.

If approved, a new tree strategy would outline the authority’s approach to tree removals, pruning, inspections and planting in greater detail. It would also explore how new areas of woodland and sites for more street trees will be identified.

Next Tuesday’s meeting will decide whether to pursue an initial £4m five-year contract for maintaining all trees on council land. A new approach to both increasing the city’s canopy and managing existing trees is also set to be approved. Ideas will then be put forward for public consultation.

A two-year extension to the funding of the One Tree Per Child project with Bristol’s primary and secondary schools, along with a search for new funding and partners to meet the city’s tree planting targets, will also be up for consideration. The One Tree Per Child initiative has seen 57,000 trees planted working with all the city’s primary schools in the last four years.

Cllr Asher Craig, Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Communities, Equalities and Public Health, says: “We recognise the environmental and health benefits that trees bring to the city and a new tree strategy would be clearer about the way we manage the city’s street trees offer reassurance to residents and communities that we will do this in a sensible way.

“The council has a duty to ensure that our trees are not putting anyone’s health and safety at risk and the new strategy would help to ensure that they are properly inspected and improve their management and maintenance.

“We want to improve our environment to ensure people enjoy cleaner air, cleaner streets and access to parks and green spaces, but we also need a collaborative plan to help achieve our One City commitment of increasing the tree canopy in Bristol to enhance the benefits for our neighbourhoods.’’

Bristol City Council has already discussed expanding the city’s tree planting programme with stakeholders including the Forest of Avon Trust, the Woodland Trust and the Bristol Tree Forum.

The initial five-year contract for the maintenance of trees owned and managed by the council would also carry the option of a five-year extension.

The Cabinet will consider the approach to a new management contract and tree strategy on June 18, with further information about the tree management contract and strategy available at the council website.

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