Greens act to protect our trees from Labour’s cuts
Greens have been working hard to reverse the recent cuts proposed to street tree maintenance and new tree planting.
Clive Stevens, Green Party Councillor and ex-Chair of the Bristol TreeForum explains; ”We Greens have been shocked at the short-sightedness of the Council’s proposal to cut this tree budget by 78%”.
“Studies show that properly maintained trees cut air-pollution, reduce flooding, add to a city’s resilience to climate change and increase our sense of well-being”.
“But what we are facing with these budget cuts is a situation where in future trees will be simply left to grow out of control. So that they are more likely to cause subsidence to buildings, damage pavements, grow too big so drop more leaves, add to nuisance and add the threat of branches falling on cars or worse, people; adding to risk, to costs and most likely eventually resulting in trees cut down across the city”.
“The whole reason street trees are maintained is to maximise the benefits to peoples’ health and minimise the problems they cause. But it seems the Council have forgotten this”.
Bristol City Council is under severe financial pressure. In February the Greens proposed and costed balanced budget amendments to protect the most vulnerable people and provide some funding for parks and trees; Labour voted these Green proposals down.
Since late March, Greens have been working with other parties, the Bristol TreeForum and now the Mayor to look more rigorously at this misguided proposal to halt tree maintenance and cease tree planting.
Fortunately the Mayor’s response to tough questioning at 17th May’s Cabinet meeting was to reverse the decision on no new planting. Cabinet members have also agreed to revisit the business case for stopping tree maintenance in the face of a professionally put case and use of facts to show the proposal wouldn’t save any money at all.
Molly Scott-Cato, Green candidate for MP in Bristol West where many of these street trees are located said; ”The people of Bristol really appreciate the benefits of cared for, well maintained trees. Clive’s campaigning is an example of how local Greens working for people across the city can be really effective in bringing about change to protect and improve the quality of our lives”.