Winchester City Council launches new green initiatives to maintain healthy tree population

The council has launched a number of green initiatives to ensure that the Winchester district retains a thriving tree population.

Among them is a planting programme as part of the new Winchester Sport & Leisure Park, which will see nearly 200 trees added to the site of the development at Bar End.

The council is also focusing on maintaining the health of trees within the gardens of the city council’s housing stock, while also monitoring trees across the district's open spaces and car parks.

The projects, part of the council's drive to retain and enhance the area's biodiversity,are helping to identify any trees considered a risk to people or property, manage their health and then undertake a planting programme to replace any that are lost.

Specialist tree officers, who employ innovative surveying techniques, are employed to maintain the district's trees, which also helps reduce the impact of issues such as flooding and climate change.

Nationally, planting has come into focus after the government appointed ‘tree champion’ Sir William Worsley to drive forward planting rates and prevent the unnecessary felling of street trees.

More recently, new plans drawn up by Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Michael Gove could see authorities consult residents before any street trees are cut down.

Portfolio Holder for environment, Cllr Jan Warwick said:

“We absolutely recognise the environmental value of trees and this is why we are investing time into developing better ways to manage them, as well as reviewing our planting programme to see where we can plant even more.

“I welcome the changes that could be made by the government, which can only strengthen the work we are already doing on managing trees in the district.  

“Over the past three years we have consulted residents on trees and our planting programme and we know that they would like more. The key is that we continue to plant the right trees in the right places.”

Tree planting will form a core part of the council’s biodiversity action plan, which will come forward later this year.