Campaigners call on the Council to do more for Kirklees’ trees
Members of the Save Greenhead Trees and Kirklees Climate Emergency campaign groups organised a lobby and deputation to Kirklees Council today (Wednesday 18 September 2019) reinforcing the urgent need to protect and plant trees as part of the council’s response to the climate emergency.
One of the speakers, Evie aged 13, said:
“It’s my generation who will suffer the consequences if we don’t treasure our trees. We’re here to try and protect the trees we’ve got and to challenge the council to help us plant more – lots more. Trees matter. They help fix the climate emergency by absorbing carbon. Scientists are telling us that the land set aside for woodland and forestry needs to rise world-wide. Kirklees needs to do its bit and do it quickly.”
Sarah Newton, another deputation speaker, commented:
“Kirklees declared a Climate Emergency on 16 January 2019. Since the declaration Kirklees has cut down healthy mature street trees and at least 50 full grown trees at the Highfields site. And that’s just in a few months. We are also not aware of Kirklees plans for widespread tree planting this tree planting season. Kirklees Council is failing in a simple and core part of a strategy to deal with the Climate Emergency.”
The group outlined 5 core demands for a tree policy for Kirklees: :
1. A street tree policy: The Council has been talking about developing a street tree policy for over two years. Until there is an agreed policy involving the Council and all interested parties then all street tree felling in Kirklees should be suspended, with the exception being if any of the street trees pose an agreed danger.
2. A commitment to urban re-planting
The group is calling for an audit of all Council-owned sites exploring where can more trees be planted. All Kirklees schools must be encouraged to plant trees.
3. Protect existing trees and promote more trees through the planning system
The Local Plan should be updated to reflect the importance of protecting existing trees and increasing tree cover in helping combat the climate emergency.
Planning decisions should reflect this: the wholesale felling of existing trees on development sites must not be allowed, and planting new trees should be a condition of planning permission (under section 106 agreements).
4. A minimum commitment to planting one tree per person in Kirklees – 437 500 in the next five years, starting now
The Council is called upon to match the commitment of Leeds and Manchester by planting one tree per person in Kirklees by 2024 and to look at more ambitious long-term plans, reflecting national calls for a doubling of tree cover.
5. A new determination to see The Northern Forest happen
The campaigners called on the Council to turn the ambitions for the Northern Forest into action and asked the council what the plans for planting at Northern Forest sites are this planting season.
Sarah from Kirklees Climate Emergency group commented:
“These are our demands. It is an emergency – you told us this, but we see trees felled not planted.
Publish a tree policy, with targets and deadlines – we’ll help. Commit to the action needed to combat the climate emergency.”