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Five Years To A Proper Tree Map For Kent

January 26, 2009 8:39 AM

During discussion on the Budget for 2009/10 at the Environment Policy Committee last Tuesday (20th), Cllr Dan Daley welcomed KCC spending on highway trees as a step in the right direction but regretted that the current amount set aside for the maintenance and replacement of street trees on Kent's Highways was still inadequate, and that even mapping them would still take another five years.

Lib Dem spokesman Cllr Dan Daley highlighted the subject of street trees two years ago as there was barely enough in the budget to cover a single month. It was admitted then that the County did not know how many trees it was responsible for, and a survey was begun to assess the real size of the problem.

At Tuesday's meeting the Cabinet Member for Highways said the survey was 'coming along nicely' and committed the County Council to increase the budget to cope with the responsibility it has toward its tree stock. Under the current programme of tree safety inspection it is predicted that the asset data collection will be completed within 2 years on major urban roads and within 5 years on minor urban roads. So far only three Districts in Kent have been mapped.

Replanting has been under funded for at least 10 years. It is estimated that to replant when trees removed could cost in the region of £300,000 year. Tree stock is ageing and KCC needs a management programme that removes old trees before they become a problem and replaces them. Best guess at the moment for the number of urban trees is in excess of half a million.

Cllr. Daley said "I am very pleased that KCC is taking this issue seriously. Urban trees are a very important way of improving our streets visually and also cut down urban pollution. I am looking forward to the time when they will all be properly maintained and replaced before they become a safety hazard. "