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Why are our trees being scalped?

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Thursday 22 August 2019 4.51pm
Have you noticed recently that some of our trees have been 'pruned' to within an inch of their life?
It's happening all over the borough and is the result of Southwark's historical mismanagement of their tree policy. Accumulating a backlog, Southwark has decided that a mass pollarding (extreme pruning) exercise is necessary and it looks very likely that they've struck a 'buy one, get one free' deal with someone (I hesitate to use the term tree surgeon since it's more like butchery). The RHS advises that this work is done where necessary to restrict growth and when trees are dormant, in late winter. However, Southwark Council has seen fit to embark upon a wholesale clearance, irrespective of the season or age of tree. The Council is in the process of formulating a new tree management policy and is (very discreetly) inviting public input. The deadline for participation is September 20th:

https://consultations.southwark.gov.uk/environment-leisure/parks-leisure/

A group of concerned residents has got together to attempt to hold Southwark Council to account and to assist in the future care of our tree population. To this end, we will be meeting with the Council close to the September deadline. If you are as concerned as us and want to join our group, you can contact us (Street Trees Group) through this forum, or seek out the 'Pollarding Mature Trees' thread on the Nextdoor app.

Thanks for getting this far!
Tuesday 27 August 2019 2.40pm
Thanks for posting this Bp_1. I am with you 100%.
I hope as many people as possible will take a look at the proposed Tree Strategy and complete the survey. It is so important that the council step up to the plate and improve the care and maintenance of our precious trees and that they have ambitious, innovative and effective ideas for increasing the tree canopy and greenery in Southwark, especially around our hot and polluted roads.
Did you know a single mature leafy tree:
absorbs around 22kg of carbon dioxide a year?
produces enough oxygen to allow 10 of us to breathe?
protects us from flooding by absorbing up to 450 litres of water a day as well as capturing rain water on its leaves?
has a cooling effect equivalent to 10 air-conditioning units running 20 hours a day?
provides food and habitat to bats, birds, insects, small mammals, other plants, fungi, mosses?
I could go on!
With her "beautification" and tree-planting programme, Ada Salter transformed industrial and polluted Bermondsey in the 1920s and 30s. Today, with the right strategies and help from local communities and businesses, why can't the council lead the way and make Southwark the greenest borough in Central London?
Tuesday 27 August 2019 4.00pm
Trees growing quite close to the houses in Henshaw St were apparently planted in 1950s/60s and are too large to be as close to the houses as they are. The council have been pollarding these trees at the request of residents - to stop the canopy of the trees going over the house roofs which was causing problems with blocked gutters, blocking the light from the houses and also because of the risk from roots / foundations/subsidence etc.
I'm a great supporter of trees in cities and they need to be the right trees in the right places!
Tuesday 27 August 2019 4.24pm
SophieLondon wrote:
Trees growing quite close to the houses in Henshaw St were apparently planted in 1950s/60s and are too large to be as close to the houses as they are. The council have been pollarding these trees at the request of residents - to stop the canopy of the trees going over the house roofs which was causing problems with blocked gutters, blocking the light from the houses and also because of the risk from roots / foundations/subsidence etc.
I'm a great supporter of trees in cities and they need to be the right trees in the right places!
Totally agree Sophie. There are lots of examples like yours all over the borough and when the pollarding schedule is neglected, as it has been in many places recently, it causes all sorts of problems. It shouldn't put us off planting trees on our streets though. Right tree, right place is important but we should leave space where we can to plant trees that will become the great trees of the future too.

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