Tree Strategy for Much Wenlock
Tree Strategy for Much Wenlock
As you read further down this page you will see that there is a wealth of information about the importance of trees in Much Wenlock. We live in a country town and whilst we are surrounded by trees in the countryside landscape during the last thirty to fourty years we have lost an enourmous amount of trees within the town itself. This is due to many different factors, one is development of spare land for dwellings, another reason is the aging and subsequent loss of trees which were part of the legacy of planting from the Victorian era, notably the enthusisam for tree planting by William Penny Brookes. The expansion of the built environment within the town brings with it smaller gardens and closer neighbours, tree owners are sometimes encouraged by close neighbours to cut down trees which they otherwise would not.
We are not alone in this dilema, we must plant for the future and replace those trees we cut down. The RHS and the Woodland Trust are now running campaigns to encourage garden tree planting, the same feature has been run on many of the televison garden programmes. There are many suitable trees which can be planted in the smallest of gardens to give shade, cut exposure to noise, dirt and wind and feed birds and insects. Garden centres can give good advice on what to plant.
In the meantime the Much Wenlock Tree Forum continues the work of William Penny Brookes to plant significant trees in commemoration of people and events within the townscape.
Much Wenlock Neighbourhood Plan
The Plan will expect developments to retain features of high nature conservation or landscape value, including mature trees, species-rich hedgerows, ponds and existing areas of woodland. Improvement of the connectivity between wildlife areas and green spaces will be encouraged to enhance the green infrastructure of the Parish.
MUCH WENLOCK TOWN COUNCIL PLANNING COMMITTEE
Meeting Tuesday, 1st March 2016.
Martin Sutton (Shropshire County Arboriculturist) was invited by the Chair of the Much Wenlock Town Council Planning and Environment Committee, Cllr Mary Hill, to answer questions from the committee regarding trees. John Tuer, Tree Forum member, was present to record the session.
Q: What justifies placing a TPO on a tree ?
A: Any type of tree may have a TPO placed on it. Whether a TPO or not is determined by the amenity value of the tree – how a tree looks, its cultural and historical significance and if it has a character that contributes to its location.
Tree Officers will weigh up each tree on its merits and are more likely to consider trees under threat.
Shropshire Council can turn a TPO round in a couple of hours.
Q: Have any trees at Pinefields, 40 High Street, got TPOs on them ?
A: I've placed a TPO on the large individual oak tree and a group of Corsican Pines because they add value to the site in what it contributes to the town. (This line of Pines is along the side of the Pinefields garden adjacent to the row of bungalows on High Causeway.) Parallel to them is a line of beech trees, These belong to the bungalow estate and not part of the Pinefields site. Some of these beeches are not in good condition but we need to give time to see what happens to them.
One beech has been removed from the site because it was unsafe.
In the past, there have been 20-30 Shetland ponies grazing on the site and these have caused some tree damage.
Q: What about replacement trees ? If a tree with a TPO is removed, does a replacement have to be planted ?
A: Yes, if the removal of the TPO tree is in contravention to the TPO. But the Tree Officers can demand a replacement otherwise. There is not an automatic requirement for a replacement.
Q: Back to the Pinefields site, what about the “5-day notice” ?
A: This applies to dangerous trees that cannot wait for the full period of the TPO or Conservation Area legislation. The Tree Officers have to visit the site urgently and give a decision within 5 days. But regarding the beeches on the Pinefields site, we are waiting to see what the next planning application requires. They are not so dangerous as to require the use of this part of the legislation.
Martin Sutton: The Tree Officers survey all trees along Shropshire highways on a 5-year cycle for safety purposes only.
Q. If a TPO is removed and is replaced, does the new tree automatically have a TPO ?
A: Only if it is part of the condition given for allowing the tree to be taken down.
Q: What about Felling Licences ?
A: These are administered by the Forestry Commission and restrict wholesale removal of trees. Only 5 cubic metres of trees may be felled within a calendar quarter unless more is allowed by a felling licence. If more than this is removed, the Forestry Commission need to be told and they will initiate an investigation.
Q: Can TPOs be placed on hedges ?
A: Only if a hedge can be described as a line of trees. Hedges are also judged on wildlife and archaeological criteria but a decision of whether or not to remove is not undertaken within TPO legislation.
Q: If a tree is removed in a Conservation Area, must it be replaced by a similar species ?
A: Conservation Area legislation gives no powers for the County Council to demand this. We can encourage it, and we often do, but we cannot insist upon it.
Q If a willow is severely pruned. Will it stand this ?
A: Yes, you can make a 20% crown reduction with no damage or threat to a willow. It will grow back.
TREES: Much Wenlock
William Penny Brookes memorial tree,Tupelo (Nyssa Sylvatica) on Much Wenlock church green
planted in 2009 to commemorate the bicentenary of his birth.
This slow growing little tree has now been moved to a different location on the church green by the Parish Church Council, its support and protection has also been removed. We hope it survives.
A tree management strategy for Much Wenlock,
This tree management strategy follows the recommended structure for strategies adopted by local councils
nationwide. Much Wenlock Town Council has its own separate Tree Policy which can be obtained from the Town Clerk
Page 1: Introduction
Page 2: Part One: How important are trees ?
Page 3: How are the above effective in Much Wenlock ?
Page 4: Protect, Care, Plant more.
Page 5: Part Two: Protecting trees
Tree Preservation Orders
Page 7: Conservation Area protection
Page 8: Other forms of protection: Council decisions;
Trees on development sites.
Page 9: Felling Licences
Page 11: Part Three: Care for Trees
A Regular Check
Page 12: Deciding what needs to be done.
Getting the work done
Page 14: Part Four: Plant more
Page 15: Part Five: Much Wenlock's tree stock
Page 17: Part Six: Threats to the Town's Trees
Page 18: Much Wenlock Town Council's reaction to these threats
Page 21: Appendix One: Information about applying to Shropshire Council to work on TPO and CA trees.
Page 22: Appendix Three: Report on the Pont Bren Scheme by Much Wenlock Tree Forum - a scheme that uses tree planting to prevent flooding.
TREES: Much Wenlock
The Much Wenlock Town Council recognises its rights and responsibilities for the public trees within the town's boundary whether they are individual trees, woodlands or hedges. It recognises, too, some responsibility for private trees belonging to householders and landowners in that when private planning requests are made concerning trees, particularly those the subject of Tree Preservation Orders and those within the town's Conservation Area, the Council will be asked to respond and give its collective view on these matters. The Tree Forum will often make its views known also through the Shropshire Council Planning Portal
In the light of these responsibilities, the guidelines and advice given in this tree strategy can inform the Council and strengthen its ability and confidence to make prompt and appropriate decisions with respect to trees within the town, decisions which should improve the amenity value of trees within Much Wenlock.
Much Wenlock Town Council, in common with larger and smaller public bodies throughout the United Kingdom, recognises the value of trees within its boundaries. Whatever their position in the hierarchy of public bodies, local authorities throughout the country are recognising that they need to make a response to the Rio Earth Summit Agenda 21 and to the needs for sustainability and biodiversity within their areas. This strategy can assist the Town Council in these aims.
These guidelines stress the value of trees in general and their value in significant areas of the town, such as the Gaskell Recreation Grounds and the Railway Walk, the Lady Forester Hospital site and the town central areas.
Many fine trees in the town can be considered as "Heritage Trees", that is trees awarded a special status due to their age, size, rarity or historical association. Much Wenlock has a particularly large number of the latter.
More and more recognition is given these days to the value of trees and the need to protect and care for them. Part One of this strategy gives an overview of just how valuable trees are to people and reminds us of our need to "Protect them", "Care for them" and finds ways to "Plant more of them". Part One, therefore, underpins the whole strategy and decisions taken regarding trees will need to be taken with their particular values in mind.
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TREES: Much Wenlock
How important are trees ?
A: Most of the oxygen we breathe is produced by trees. They take in carbon and lock it in their woody tissues. Shelter belts of trees around habitation can keep houses warm in winter and cool in summer. Trees
provide shade from hot sun and assist in air cooling. In effect, trees moderate climate and stabilise the atmosphere.
B: Trees help us enjoy healthier lives. They absorb pollution from the air and assist in noise reduction. They provide drugs for medicines and can take heavy metals from contaminated land. Trees around houses, factories, hospitals and schools promote a "feel good factor" and enhance people's daily lives, their willingness and ability to work, their ability to recover from illness and their capacity to absorb new learning.
Trees give us places for recreation and are an art form in their own right.
C: Trees can lead to more successful local economies. Employment may
be provided in the forestry and timber trades. The image of local industry within the urban scene can be improved by trees leading to happier working environments. Trees have been proven to enhance property values and, generally, improve landscape quality.
D: Trees can stabilise land and aid reclamation of derelict land. The spread of tree roots prevents soil erosion. River banks, too, can be retained in this way. Trees can "clean up" contaminated land and, by breaking up soil and increasing underground water flow, can reduce flooding.
E: Trees provide us with useful products - timber, medicines and drugs, food (fruit, nuts, etc.) and renewable energy crops such as biofuels.
F: Trees increase biodiversity by providing habitats for wildlife. With hedges, they provide green corridors to give safe shelter for animals to move undetected by predators.
G: Trees assist the creation of more sustainable communities. They strengthen neighbourhoods by bringing people together for community involvement in such as woodland walks, tree planting, etc..
H Many people find trees attractive and simply enjoy them for their aesthetic addition to the landscape.
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How are the above effective in Much Wenlock ?
There are many examples of how trees benefit and could benefit our town by acting in the ways listed above. These are just some of the examples of how trees are helping now and how they could help in the future:
- The Gaskell Grounds is the "town park" used for recreation and sport. The trees improve its environment, give shelter and shade and provide a healthy environment for exercise.
- Trees along the old railway track provide a habitat for wildlife as well as an enjoyable place for public recreation. Of many sites in town, this is one of the more important ones for biodiversity.
- A number of trees along our roads and streets "break up " the harsh outlines of buildings and soften the view. The five lime trees and the single walnut tree on Barrow Street can offer this advantage and other streets may provide opportunities for tree planting that can soften the harsh man-made environment in their areas.
- The treescape around the Lady Forester Hospital is beneficial in assisting patients to feel better than they would otherwise without the trees. Fortunately, a large number of trees have been left here following the housing development on the site so that they may still have the same effect for the hospital residents.
- The trees around the Bradley Quarry industrial site off the Buildwas Road all have Tree Preservation Orders placed on them. This allows the industry and the Farley Fuel Terminal to be screened from view.
- The William Brookes School site has been landscaped following its "new build". As the trees grow, here too the vegetation will soften the harsh outlines of the building.
- Planting trees around the proposed flood alleviation ponds on the Church Stretton road will enhance the site and aid water retention in the soil as well as providing cover for wild life
- The woodland behind Southfield Road provides a place for recreation, besides being a place where many trees in a small area can benefit the local climate and shelter the local houses.
- Flooding: Trees planted in the "right" places around the town could alleviate our flooding problems. Even with young newly-planted trees, their roots would break up the soil giving a better texture to allow rainwater to penetrate. Thus the overland flow would be reduced and the secondary flow through the ground would appear later. The rainfall run-off would, thus, be staggered.
(See appendices for details of the Much Wenlock Tree Forum visit to the Pont Bren Scheme)
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Any tree strategy adopted by a local authority will have a three-fold policy:
PROTECT THE TREES, WOODLANDS AND HEDGES WE HAVE,
CARE FOR OUR EXISTING TREES, WOODLAND AND HEDGES,
FIND OPPORTUNITIES TO PLANT MORE TREES, WOODLAND AND
This trio of strands may, for the sake of memory, be reduced to
Protect Care Plant more
These strands form the subjects of Parts Two, Three and Four of this tree management strategy
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TREES: Much Wenlock
Protect the trees, woodland and hedges we have…………………
There is statutory protection for some of our trees. Currently those protected by Tree Preservation Orders are the following:
Smithfield Road, Much Wenlock (TPO/28)
Nine (9) lime trees .
Reason for TPO: "The trees are very prominent in the immediate street scene and are visible from many parts of the town. It is considered that they are of high amenity value and should be preserved.
Bradley Quarry, Much Wenlock (TPO/45)
Mixed broadleaf and conifer trees within the disused quarry.
Reason for TPO: "The trees are important and an attractive feature in this area and their retention will ensure the screening of the starter factories for which planning permission has been granted at Bradley Quarry" and Farley oil terminal.
Southfield Road, Much Wenlock (TPO/53)
Group of three larches at Larch house, Southfield Road of which only one remains. Permission was given to remove two in 1999 and 2008 respectively.
Reason for TPO: For the remaining tree: "This tree stands in an elevated and prominent position and is, therefore, a significant feature in the neighbourhood especially when viewed from the east along Southfield Road. It can also be clearly seen from Victoria Road where it enhances the visual amenity of the Conservation Area."
Permission to remove the remaining tree has been sought by the owner in both 2003 and 2010. Permission was refused on the grounds "that the felling of the larch tree would seriously diminish the visual amenity of the locality."
Farley Road, Much Wenlock (TPO/95)
Broadleaf and conifer trees in the grounds of the Lady Forester Hospital. All the trees on the hospital site which now includes the remaining trees on the new housing development, are protected by a Group Tree Preservation Order.
Reason for TPO: "the amenity value of the trees and of this site to the town of Much Wenlock."
Land at the entrance to Bache Farmhouse, Homer, Much Wenlock (TPO/118)
Large-leaved lime tree on the village green in Homer.
Reason: "The Council considers that the lime tree, which is located in a prominent position in Homer, contributes significantly to the visual amenity of
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the village." "The lime tree is located prominently on a grass 'splitter' island in the middle of the road and, being a perfect specimen, it contributes significantly to the character of the village." This tree was planted in 1977 to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.
Old Engineering Works, Barrow Street, Much Wenlock (TPO/116)
One (1) Walnut tree, opposite Carbers Cottage at corner of development of new houses.
Reason: "The walnut tree, which is located in a prominent position close to the boundary of the Much Wenlock Conservation Area, contributes significantly to the visual amenity of the street scene."
"It was considered desirable to protect the tree in order to ensure its continued existence when the property changes hands from the developer to the first and subsequent residents."
Brockenhurst, Farley Road, Much Wenlock (TPO/131)
23 Douglas Firs and 1 Lime tree alongside "Woodlands" and along two sides of "Brockenhurst".
Reason: "The Council considers the line of trees to be of high quality value as they are a prominent feature on a main route into and out of Much Wenlock."
Permission was given in September 2008 to crown raise the lime to a height of 3 metres to clear the path.
Permission was given in November 2012 to remove two of the Douglas Firs which were in poor health.
2, High Causeway, Much Wenlock (TPO/142)
One Sycamore on corner of High Causeway and Southfield Road.
Reason: "The …..sycamore is a healthy and structurally-sound mature tree providing very significant public amenity value to the Southfield Road and High Causeway part of Much Wenlock."
St. Mary Magdalene (R.C.) Church, Barrow Street, Much Wenlock (TPO/152)
One Weeping Willow on land of former St. Mary Magdalene Church, now housing.
Reason: "…….The tree is a prominent feature on Barrow Street and it makes an important contribution to the visual amenity of the local environment, given that it can clearly be seen from a public footpath and road……The potential change of use of the site means that the tree could be deemed at risk."
Gaskell Recreation Grounds (TPO/154)
All the trees on these recreation grounds and on the school site (174 trees, both broadleaf and conifers).
Since this group TPO was placed, the building of the new school has led to the removal by the County Council of the TPOs on certain trees on the school site so that they may be removed to make room for the buildings. The remaining trees are all protected by the existing TPO.
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15, High Street, Much Wenlock (TPO/157)
Weeping Willow at the back of Number 15 High Street.
Reason: "The willow has an individual prominence which makes a significant contribution to the visual amenity of the locality. It is a prominent feature in the core of Much Wenlock." "The tree is viewed (as being) under threat from development pressure."
Land at rear of 27-30, St. Mary's Road, Much Wenlock (TPO/158)
One Yew tree and one Ash tree.
Reason: The trees appear healthy and are in good condition and should have considerable longevity if given protection. The trees are in prominent positions in the centre of this historic town and are highly visible from many aspects of the local environment. The trees are perceived to be at risk due to development pressures."
Wenlock Priory 17th March 2010
All trees in the grounds of Wenlock Priory
Much Wenlock does, also, have one hedgerow that is protected statutorily:
Hedge retained under Hedgerow Regulations 1997
The hedge in the field adjoining Much Wenlock Primary School on land owned by Wenlock Estates (Grid Ref: SO 6299SE)
Reason: This is an historical hedgerow, almost 184 metres in length, pre-dating 1814. The historical evidence from the Victoria History shows that between 1807 and 1814, the Much Wenlock racecourse moved to land that includes the hedgerow. The two large gaps, one at each end, are on the line of the course over which the horses have run.
An application to remove the hedgerow was made by Wenlock Estates in 2008. This request was turned down at a Public Inquiry on 26th March 2008 (Appeal Reference: APP/HGW/07/304).
The nature of the protection afforded by Tree Preservation Orders
This was changed in April 2012. Previously, a tree the subject of a TPO could only be worked on or felled if it was "dead, dying or dangerous". Since this date, the word "dying" has been removed as many trees can appear to be dying but, in fact, can recover.
Planning permission must be sought before any work is conducted on a tree with a TPO. If the tree is "dead or dangerous" it is wise to seek permission in any case before work is undertaken. If work needs to be conducted as an emergency, a photograph should be taken to show the condition of the tree before the work was done.
Conservation Area Protection
The centre of Much Wenlock is a Conservation Area. No trees in this area may be worked on unless the planning authorities at Shropshire Council have
been informed. The planning authority is told that such work is to be conducted on a tree in the Conservation Area and this authority must reply if it wishes to stop the work within a specified time. If there is no reply from this authority or the time limit is exceeded, the owner may go ahead and conduct the work on the tree.
In practice, it is always good sense to check with the authority that the work may be carried out if nothing is heard from them.
Other forms of tree protection
1. The Town Council's right to consultation in line with the Much Wenlock Neighbourhood Plan policies on the environment
The above ways of protecting the trees in Much Wenlock are those of a statutory nature. The Town Council may also state that certain trees may not be removed or have work done to them if they are on Town Council, and therefore public, land.
For trees on private land, the Town Council does not have this authority unless the trees are statutorily protected as above. But the Town Council can encourage tree owners to act in caring and protective ways towards these trees. This may be done by making it publicly known that the Town Council understands the benefits of having trees in Much Wenlock (See Part One of this Tree Management Plan) and opposes any work to trees if it deems the work as being detrimental to the trees and the treescape in the town.
Planning Applications, made to Shropshire Council but concerning the town of Much Wenlock, are passed to the Town Council for comment. Where a proposed development might place a tree or group of trees at risk, the Town Council will consider very carefully whether it would appear to be right and proper to allow the tree to be removed or altered in any way. The Town Council can take the view that the tree should remain unless there are strong reasons for taking it down. The Town Council's role in the planning process is one of statutory consultee, it does not have final decision making powers, these rest with Shropshire Council
This also applies to woodlands and hedges within Much Wenlock. The Town Council may not consider it beneficial to remove or alter the character of any woodland or hedges unless it finds adequate justification for so doing.
2. Trees on Development Sites
Trees in relation to Construction: Before any new development takes place, the developers are strongly advised to follow the procedures set out in British Standard 5837:2012 and British Standard 3998 2010. This is entitled "Trees in relation to construction - Recommendations".
These recommendations are now followed by both Shropshire Council Planning Department and Shropshire Council Tree Officers. They require an arboricultural assessment of the proposed building site before any building takes place.
A qualified arborist would be asked to assess each tree on the site under four categories:
A (Those trees of high quality and value),
B (Those trees of moderate quality and value),
C (Those trees of low quality and value,
R (Those trees in such a condition that any existing value would be lost within 10 years and which should, in the current context, be removed for reasons of sound arboricultural management).
The Town Council would always gain sight of the survey document (a copy would be available from the Planning Authority) and may, as much as possible, wish to retain all "Category A" trees and the majority of "Category B" trees. Consideration of "Category C" trees by the surveying arborist is on the basis of the tree's health. The Town Council would need to look at the impact that any "C trees" in a group would make on the townscape and should be wary of wholesale removal of all "Category C" trees.
Agreement would usually be given for the removal of "Category R" trees.
As the Town Council would have sight of the above survey document before the development would proceed, the Town Council would have the opportunity to comment on the situation, retention or removal of any of the surveyed trees. Again, the Town Council may take the view that a tree should remain unless there are strong reasons for taking it down.
Those trees retained during the period of the development would be protected according to the aforementioned British Standard. This involves protecting the area around the base of the tree measured as an area equivalent to a circle with a radius 12 times the stem diameter for single stemmed trees and 10 times the basal diameter for trees with more than one stem arising below 1.5m above ground level. These are matters that would be "policed" by the Shropshire Council Tree Officers but it is well that the Town Council is aware of the protection afforded to these trees whilst development is in progress. Often, too, a geotextile mat is required to be placed over the root zone of the protected trees should workers need to walk across this zone.
- Tree protection afforded by Felling Licences
To prevent wholesale removal of trees, the Forestry Commission Felling Licence Scheme restricts the amount of timber that may be cut during a specific time. Protection of trees from large-scale felling is, therefore, afforded by this scheme.
At present, "In any calendar quarter, one may fell up to 5 cubic metres on one's own property without a licence as long as no more than 2 cubic metres are sold."
This legislation is statutory and is set out in the Forestry Commission's website.
The site gives the "Calendar Quarters" as: 1st January to 31st March; 1st April to 30th June; 1st July to 30th September; 1st October to 31st December.
Certain types of felling do not require felling licences. These exemptions are set out in the pdf file on the above website. Three of the exemptions are worth mentioning here:
(i) felling fruit trees, or trees growing in a garden, orchard, churchyard or designated public open space (under the Commons Act 1899).
(ii) Felling trees immediately required for the purpose of carrying out development authorised by planning permission or for work carried out by certain providers of gas, electricity and water services and which is essential for the provision of these services.
(iii) Felling trees which, when measured at a height of 1.3 metres from the ground:
- have a diameter of 8 cm or less, or
- if thinning, have a diameter of 10 cm or less, or
- if coppice or underwood, have a diameter of 15 cm or less
(for definitions, see the above website)
Members of the public who approach the Town Council to request permission to fell trees in quantity (trees that are not the subject of TPO or Conservation Area legislation), may be referred to
for a felling licence application form. This should then be completed and sent to the Forestry Commission.
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TREES; Much Wenlock
Care for our existing trees, woodland and hedges…………………..
What does the care of trees involve ?
- A regular check to look at their health and safety
- A decision of what, if any, work needs to be done
- Getting the work done
The Much Wenlock Town Council, because of its acceptance of all the benefits that trees provide for the town, is also very much aware that trees need to be looked after. The Town Council also very much recognises that the care of trees is not cheap. The Town Council may, therefore, set aside a sum of money each year for the care of it's trees. This sum may have to be supplemented through the acquisition of grants from various bodies. It may also be supplemented through public subscription, whereby for a particular tree project (say, the deadwooding of the trees in the Linden Avenue on the Gaskell Grounds), a specific fund is set up derived from donations made by members of the public.
A regular check
Public trees need to be surveyed on a regular basis, especially if they are in public places, to ensure their safety in the proximity of members of the public. Whether a tree may fall or whether a branch may fall will have to be checked by a qualified tree surveyor and the recommended interval for surveys such as this is 2 years, certainly not more than 3 years (Recommended by the Arboricultural Association).
In the interim, other checking measure may be used. The main target of these should be those trees which are the subject of Tree Preservation Orders and those within the Conservation Area of the town. Measures such as asking the public to report any damage to trees or other causes of concern for specific trees that they may come across as they visit particular parts of the town, might be a useful way forward. Of course, to assist with this, it would be important to make the public aware of those trees that have had TPOs placed upon them together with the fact that all the trees in the Conservation Area are protected. To this end, it would be helpful for the Council to publish a list of trees with TPOs on its website together with the boundary of the town's Conservation Area and how trees in such areas are protected.. Also, for all trees to be recognised as public assets, they need to be included on the existing Properties and Assets page of the website.
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It is customary for Shropshire Council to survey trees with TPOs from time to time to ensure that the integrity of each tree is still retained. In the interim, a number of members of the Town's Tree Forum, who are also Tree Wardens for the town, may be asked to help in this way.
As noted under Part One of this strategy for the town's trees, there is great value in having trees among housing developments. They can soften the harsh outlines and colour of the brickwork. They can produce a more rural feel to a housing environment. They can provide warmth for houses in cold windy weather and shade in the heat of a hot sun. In addition, and for these reasons, they can add value to house prices. To assist those who live with these trees outside their front doors, it is important for Shropshire Council to show that they care for these trees equally. People will be happier to have these trees adjacent to their houses if they know that they are checked regularly and can be proclaimed to be safe.
For private trees in private gardens in Much Wenlock, obviously, getting any trees surveyed is the responsibility of the private owner. Should the Town Council, however, see that a private tree is likely to become a hazard for pedestrians or passing traffic, it should be prepared to draw this to the owner's attention and be willing to give the private individual any help it can in sorting out the problem.
The decision of what works needs to be done
A qualified tree surveyor will list those trees for which s/he recommends work to be done and will categorise the work according to how urgent it is. Obviously, for very urgent tree work where health and safety is involved, the decision is already made for the Town Council or private owner who, naturally, would have to comply with this professional judgement.
For less urgent work, the tree surveyor would give suggestions as to how long may be left before other work should be done. If the surveyor was to say that particular work should be undertaken within two years of the survey, say, then the Town Council would be able to take the decision about the work itself depending on funds available and decide what work should be done in Year 1 and what in Year 2.
For tree work not drawn to the Town Council's attention by a surveyor, the Council may act on its own initiative. In some circumstances, however, it may be appropriate to seek the services of a tree professional and, for this, funds would need to be available.
Getting the work done
Where work needs to be done by a tree surgeon, the Town Council or tree owners need to assure themselves that they are only obtaining quotations from qualified and insured tree surgeons. The minimum qualifications are the Certificate in
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Arboriculture, the Arboricultural Technicians Certificate or the City and Guilds or NVQ equivalents. Insurance needs to be for a minimum of £2,000,000.
The Town Council or owner should check the work once it has been completed to ensure it has been done to satisfaction.
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TREES: Much Wenlock
Find opportunities to plant more trees, woodland and hedges……………
The Much Wenlock Town Council will be looking from time to time to find places where more trees may be planted to enhance the town. Because of the nature of this old town with its narrow town centre streets, there are little opportunities for planting larger street trees. However, the Town Council may look at a number of sites that are suggested to it:-
- On the roadside verges leading into town from all directions - avenues of larger tree species. London Planes are suggested.
- Replacements for trees that have died over the years: Three cherry trees died on Southfield Road.
- Along New Road opposite The Rectory. The grass verge may be suitable for planting a row of a fastigiate species.
- Land on the left of the Stretton Road. Screening along the roadside with a larger tree species.
- Havelock Crescent
The Town Council may seek out other sites for single standard trees, new woodland creation and new hedgerows from time to time as opportunities become available.
The Town Council may also, when viewing plans for new housing and public building developments, attempt to allow for the planting of further trees among these new developments.
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TREES: Much Wenlock
MUCH WENLOCK'S TREE STOCK
Much Wenlock has many fine trees. Large numbers of these can be considered to be "Heritage Trees", trees awarded special status due to their age, size, rarity or historical association.
Many of the Heritage Trees were either planted by Dr. William Penny Brookes or by the Wenlock Olympian Society. Many have other connections to the Olympic movement. For these particular trees their planting dates are known together with the circumstances surrounding their planting. Often, the names of those who planted the trees are also known. (See booklet "The Heritage and other trees of Much Wenlock" by John Tuer. Published by Much Wenlock Tree Forum 2012, a copy of which is held by the Town Council)
The Town Council recognises the importance of protecting and caring for these trees.
However, there are many other fine examples of trees with, also, a number of fine examples of different species in the town. Details of some of these are known but not all.
As base-line data for the protection and caring for the town's trees, it would seem desirable to conduct a survey noting the trees throughout the town that are of some historical, botanical and parish significance. This would take some time but ought to include both public and private trees so as to ascertain the true tree stock within the borough. Furthermore, those trees "collected" as a part of this data should be those on public view: i.e. those that can be seen from public land. There are many fine examples of trees that have been planted privately and it would be useful to have these noted and recorded
This data would be useful in several ways:
- The Town Council would know precisely how many trees it had responsibility for. This would assist the Town Council in costing tree work on an average basis to allow it to know how much funding should be set aside.
- The Town Council would know precisely where the public trees were for which it had responsibility. This would enable the Council to allocated survey work to professional tree surveyors when surveys were due.
- The Town Council already knows what a large range of tree species there are in Much Wenlock but this information would allow it to pinpoint particular species should it be asked to do so.
- In taking decisions on the planting of further trees, the Town Council would have sufficient information to enable it to decide what further species it would like to plant in the town.
- Such data would assist the Town Council when asked to make comments on planning applications relating to the town. For example, a single example of a rare species in town, which might be the subject of an application for removal, would give cause for concern. The Council would have a strong argument for retaining such a tree.
The Town Council could seek the help of the Much Wenlock Tree Forum in compiling such base-line data.
The Much Wenlock Tree Forum was established on 9th October 2007 to assist and advise the Town Council on any tree matters within the Borough. Its aims on setting up were:
** To make suggestions to Much Wenlock Town Council regarding the care and maintenance of the trees in public places in Much Wenlock
** To raise public awareness of the value of the trees in Much Wenlock and, wherever possible, to encourage householders to plant more trees
** To find sites within the town on which more trees may be planted
The Town Council can find a degree of tree expertise in the Much Wenlock Tree Forum which it can consult at any time.
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TREES: Much Wenlock
THREATS TO THE TOWN'S TREES
Around forty or so years ago, almost all the elm trees in Britain were struck by Dutch Elm Disease. After a respite of a few decades, it is more than one species of tree this time that are succumbing to a range of pests and diseases that have been arriving in the country.
Trees may be attacked by insect pests or fungal diseases or both, but, in addition, may suffer from mistreatment at the hands of human beings. Just some of the more damaging current threats to trees are listed below. However, not all of these have reached Shropshire. It is important to bear in mind that many of these pests and diseases are not necessarily fatal of themselves but can lead to the death of a tree if it suffers from a combination of attacks or is subjected to other environmental stresses at the same time, such as root compaction or mechanical damage.
Horse Chestnut: Horse Chestnut leaf miner - a small moth, (Cameraria ohridella). This causes late summer browning of the leaves, starting from between the veins and working out to the edge of the leaves. Trees appear poorly but recover and so the presence of the leaf miner is not justification to fell the tree.
Oaks: Acute Oak Decline (AOD) is thought to be the result of infestation by a beetle (Agrilus biguttatus) that causes bleeding of the bark, but may result from a number of combined factors.
The Oak Processionary Moth (Thaumetopoea processionea) is a human irritant because of the poisonous hairs on the caterpillars that can cause skin irritation and asthma. Outbreaks should be reported to the Forestry Commission.
Oak pinhole Borer (Platypus cylindrus).
Professional help will be required to recognise all these oak pests.
The Asian longhorn beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis) is a new threat to Ash, Birch, Poplar, Sycamore, Willow and some fruit trees. It bores into the trunks of these trees and severe infestations can be fatal.
There are several fungal diseases that are already present or could be soon. The most recent threat is ash die-back caused by Chalara fraxinea. Outbreaks
of this disease must be notified to the Forestry Commission, who will serve a Statuary Plant Health Notice on the owner, requiring them to remove and destroy affected plants. Other notable fungal pathogens are Phytophthora species on Rhododendron, P. alni on alder, P. kernoviae on beech and Phytophthora ramorum on beech, red oak and larch. Pines are at risk from red band needle blight caused by Dothistroma septosporum and Sweet Chestnut from Sweet Chestnut blight, Cryphonectria parasitica. Horse Chestnut is susceptible to bleeding canker caused by the bacterium Pseudomonas syringae pv. Aesculi.
Other fungal diseases that attack a range of trees include bleeding cankers of fungal origin, often Phytophthora species, and bracket fungi such as Ganoderma adspersum.
Tree Problems that result from human activity
Compaction: Pores in the soil hold water. Trees draw up this water, often containing dissolved mineral nutrients, through their roots and into their trunks and branches. It is vital in the life of the trees' growth. Pressure on the ground from regular pedestrian and vehicle use can compact the soil, forcing out the important pore spaces. When this occurs, the trees cannot derive enough water from the soil and, hence, suffer from stress. Lots of dead wood can appear in their crowns providing a danger for those who walk beneath. Expense must, therefore, be incurred in removal of the deadwood.
Chemicals: Chemical damage to trees can include herbicide, road de-icing salt, or chemical spillage and leakage damage. The damage caused can range from temporary disfigurement to the death of the tree.
Use of a strimmer: Strimmer use should be avoided near trees. A strimmer unknowingly or accidentally misused can "ring-bark" a tree. The living tissue of a tree is just beneath the bark and, if cut into, the flow of water from the soil and into the tree and the movement of plant foods produced in the leaves down the trunk and through to the roots will be severed.
Laying and repairing of underground infrastructure:Tree roots may be severed or otherwise damaged by inconsiderate work done to underground services, for example the laying of pipes and cables or the repair of these. The National Joint Utilities Group (NJUG) has laid down codes of practice, compliance with which would assist in controlling the risk of damage from these causes.
See "Guidelines for the planning, installation and maintenance of utility services in proximity to trees" National Joint Utilities Group Publication 4. 2007
Much Wenlock Town Council's reaction to these threats
- The Town Council will receive information from time to time about "new" pests and diseases likely to place some of the town's trees under threat. (A current example is the introduction of the ash die-back fungus, Chalara fraxinea.) Should the Council be approached to identify those tree specimens in the Borough of the particular species under threat, it will seek the assistance of a qualified arborist to identify the particular specimens before following the guidelines given.
- It is well known and has been confirmed by a number of arborists that the lime trees of the Linden Avenue on the Gaskell Grounds will suffer compaction (see above) should vehicles regularly be allowed to use the avenue. The result of this regular use is the amount of dead wood which appears in the crowns of these trees. This, of course, may be blown out of a tree in high winds and cause injury to someone below. Constantly, the Town Council is asked to find funds to have these trees "deadwooded" by a tree surgeon, a cost that may be avoided should vehicular use of the Linden Avenue be kept to a minimum.
As compaction will place a tree under stress, the tree becomes vulnerable to diseases prevailing among that particular species. Hence compaction will shorten the life of a tree. The Much Wenlock Town Council recognises the value of caring for and maintaining the health of the Town's "Heritage" and other trees for all the pleasure that trees give to people in the Town.
- Contractors and others who are employed by the Town Council to work on the Town's trees will be expected to comply with British Standard 3998: 1989: "British Standard recommendations for Tree Work" with the particular expectation that they should prune trees according to the prescribe method known as "target pruning". This is now nationally recognised as the best practice to ensure the health of the tree, prevent the tree from being placed under stress and avoid the likelihood of fungal pathogens being allowed to enter the tree.
- Contractors and others who are employed by the Town Council to work on verges and lawns in the vicinity of the Town's trees, should be told that strimmers should not be used near the tree bases. It may be recommended to them that a protective board should be placed against the tree if they must strim close to the bark.
- Rogue rhododendrons on the Gaskell Ground require annual growth control by chemical spraying, they should eventually be grubbed out. They carry the Phytophthora fungus which threatens the life of important oak trees.
The above lists of threats to Much Wenlock's trees and the Council's reactions to these threats and how they can avoid them are not exhaustive. Nor are Councillors expected to be arborists and recognise all these threats. Councillors will, however, notice if the health of a particular tree is declining and know that that is the time to seek professional help for the tree.
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TREES: Much Wenlock
Form for applying for Shropshire Council planning permission for work on trees with Tree Preservation Orders and trees in the town's Conservation Area. This is entitled "Application for tree works: works to trees subject to a tree preservation order (TPO) and/or notification of proposed works to trees in a conservation area. Town and Country Planning Act 1990"
This form may be downloaded at the following:
Shropshire Council Tree Preservation Orders (not case-sensitive)
This gives the page headed "Tree Preservation Orders"
Below the explanation of TPOs, go to the heading "Online Services and Downloads"
for "tree works to trees subject to a preservation order. pdf"
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The Report of the Much Wenlock Tree Forum visit to the Pont Bren scheme to see how the planting of trees can assist with the prevention of flooding.
At the heart of the Pont Bren Scheme is Tyn-y-Bryn Farm in Mid-Wales, a 2,500 acre hill sheep farm owned by Mr. and Mrs. Roger Jukes. Ten neighbouring farming families are involved in the scheme, Mr. Jukes being the catalyst for the project.
A visit was made to look at the scheme by members of the Much Wenlock Tree Forum on Tuesday, 19th August 2008. Accompanying them and Mr. Jukes was Mr. David Jenkins, Director of Coed Cymru.
The following is the Tree Forum's Report written immediately following the visit.
What is the Pont Bren Scheme ?
The published literature about Pontbren has been produced by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and the University of Wales Bangor. It states: "There is growing concern that modern farming practices are increasing the risk of flooding. Changes to these practices, such as planting trees and lowering stocking rates increase the thickness of surface vegetation and improve soil structure; thus reducing the flood risk by allowing more rainwater to soak through the soil. Ten farming families in mid-Wales are changing their farming practices to ensure a sustainable future for their children. The Pontbren Group, as they are known, live in a small community near Llanfair Caereinion and farm 1000 hectares in the upper reaches of the River Severn……..The Pontbren Group noticed that planting trees reduced the amount of rainwater flowing off the land to the local streams, reducing the risk of floods it seemed. To find out if this was true, they asked the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) and the University of Wales Bangor (UWB) to study how their new farming methods are affecting the environment." CEH and UWB "took soil measurements in grazed grassland (pasture) and in areas where trees had been planted. In the planted areas the soil structure had changed, and water moved through the soil sixty times more rapidly than in the grassland. (They) looked at a range of tree ages and were surprised to find that these changes started with trees as young as 2 years old. A longer project will investigate further how tree planting affects flood risk. There will also be research to find out if the wider variety of habitats provided by the new trees is encouraging wildlife at Pontbren."
The visit found that…….
The initial reasons for planting trees were not for conservation but for practical
farming advantages. First was the desire to reduce farm running costs by planting the trees for shelter and so allowing sheep to be kept on the hill all
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year round. Secondly, the peat bog on the high ground was drained. By doing this, it was found that the regulatory control exerted by the bog was removed which led to increased flow, erosion of the river banks and flooding.
What has been achieved ?
Sheets of run-off rainwater over sheep-compacted pasture and from where the peat bog had been drained were causing erosion along the banks of the main river flowing through the land. When trees were planted to stabilise the banks, water absorption was found to be high in comparison to that on the pasture. This simple observation was what led to more scientific research on the land. Research has found a 60-fold increase in absorption of rainwater where trees have been planted and are now 2 to 7 years old. Where trees are 10 years old, a 100-fold increase in absorption was found.
This absorption of rainwater changed the timing of the flow of rainwater off the land. "Instead of one big rush, some water takes 3 to 4 days to run off." The biggest impact is close to the surface but this may be because the trees are still young and many have not yet penetrated with their roots so deeply into the soil.
A simple experiment conducted by Mr. Jukes with Mr. Jenkins, was to insert glass tubes into the ground in areas of newly planted trees and again into areas of compacted pasture. Within a very short time, the water in the tubes near the trees had been absorbed into the soil whilst the water in the tubes on the pasture was still to the same depth in the tubes two days later.
Compaction of soil is noticeable on pasture land where animals constantly graze but can also be found on arable land because of the use of heavy equipment: tractors, combines, etc. although not to the same degree.
New tree planting on Tyn-Bryn Farm
As mentioned above, new tree planting has taken place along the banks of the river which flows through the farm land. In addition, new tree planting has taken place in the form of linear copses along the contours of the land.. These can be used in a number of ways. They intercept the overland flow and, with the better soil structure they develop, cause the flow to pass within the soil. The same effect is not produced if the linear copses are planted at right angles to the contours.
Another benefit is that these belts provide shelter for livestock and the livestock can move around them for shelter when the wind changes direction. The most effective planting for these copses is when there is also a shrubby lower layer. The advice is to plant the shrub layer at the same time as the trees.
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Further tree planting has been done to improve the existing hedge field boundaries and to create new field boundaries. Ditches have also been dug alongside the hedges and have been allowed to overgrow with vegetation. This, again, intercepts run-off of rainwater.
Hence, tree planting at Tyn-y-Bryn has taken place in the following ways:
Regeneration of native woodlands 9.73ha.
New planting of shelter woodlands 16.51ha.
Protection of streamside corridors 3.73ha.
Restoration of hedgerows 16.35km
Planting new hedgerows 4.67km
What tree species have been planted ?
Originally, Sitka Spruce were planted on the higher land as part of the tax avoidance scheme in the 1970s. To plant these, deep trenches were dug to drain the land first and the trees were planted in plantation form on the ridges between the trenches. Any surface rainwater simply ran through the trenches without percolating through the ground.
The more recent tree planting, started in the late 1990s, was mainly of local provenance native broadleaved species. Ash and Alder have proved themselves to be very effective "clay busters". They drive their roots through the clay producing a very rapidly improved soil structure. These species, together with Rowan, Silver Birch and various species of Willow (mainly Goat Willow) have proved to be pioneer species, easily establishing themselves on this land and allowing other species, such as Oak and Field Maple to take to this soil more readily.
The pioneer species, particularly Ash, can be used as "nurse" trees which are planted alongside species that are more difficult to establish. The Ash grow rapidly and shade the other species, forcing them to grow upwards towards the light more rapidly than they would normally do.
Mr. Jukes explained that, firstly, the farmers looked around the local environment to discover which native trees grew better than others. The above were chosen for planting because they were actually seen to establish themselves well under local conditions.
As mentioned above, shrub species, such a Hazel, require to be planted at the same time as the trees in the shelter woodlands and the hedges.
Have any species proved themselves to be more successful than others in ameliorating the soil structure ?
To break the soil quickly, Alder has been found to be the "champion", closely
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followed by Ash. Alder will also grow to 2 metres in 10 years on this land, a
good rate considering the altitude and exposure of this hill farm. The roots of these two species go deeper into the soil than those of the other species mentioned.
Silver Birch produces a dense root mass throughout the whole length of its root system, also a good structure to break up the soil.
However, all the species mentioned above are good at fulfilling their role.
Trees with a bushy habit lower down their stems are also good for the shelter woodlands, giving shelter at a lower level for the livestock. Hence, many conifers do not fit this requirement. As they grow, they become bare at lower trunk levels, especially if planted close together, and produced a wind-tunnel effect exactly at the height required for sheep shelter.
Which academic institutions are involved with Pontbren ?
The Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (based at the Orton Building, Deiniol Road, Bangor, LL57 2UP) has been involved in researching the effects of the tree roots on the soils. They have examined the changes in soil structure over many sites on the Pontbren lands.
Imperial College, London University, has been involved with research into the movement of water off the land. They have investigated a number of mathematical modelling systems to compare the Pontbren rainwater run-off with expected rates.
Nottingham University Geomorphology Department has been looking at the effects of water movements on the erosion of the main stream.
Apart from the prevention of flooding, what are the other benefits for local farmers that derive from planting trees ?
- Firstly, it must be said, that only a small part of the farm needs to be given over to tree planting for the above effects to be seen. At Mr. Jukes' farm, Tyn-y-Bryn, only 5% of the land has been planted.
- Shelterbelts for livestock are a secondary benefit from planting the copses along the contours.
- The pasture below the shelter woodlands is drier, as the rainwater drains more quickly from the land, thus allowing livestock to stay outside longer. They can feed outside on the drier pastures rather than the farmer incurring the expenditure of providing feed and lighting costs in the farm buildings.
- Such sheep diseases as foot-rot can be avoided or reduced.
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- The benefit of adding hedgerows and creating smaller fields is an advantage for a livestock farmer. The farmer can rotate his livestock around the fields more easily and leave fields to "grow on". The hedgerows also provide shelter.
- The contour planting of "game crops" (e.g. kale, sorghum, sunflowers, maize, artichokes, etc.) has the benefit of producing longer roots that can break up the soil more than some other crops but this also provides the farmer with opportunities to diversify to provide game shooting on his land.
- The planting of trees on farmland can easily be seen as an opportunity for the farmer in improving his yields with, sometimes, less outlay.
- Roger Jukes mentioned that he would start coppicing in the wooded areas soon. Trees coppiced on a regular cycle can provide material for bedding for animals and material to produce woodchip for domestic heating avoiding oil costs and reducing carbon emissions.
- The Pont Bren Cooperative has also set up a nursery to provide trees of local provenance for further planting schemes in their district.
- Roger Jukes explained that there had been an increase in wildlife as a result of the tree planting. Numbers of nuthatches and flycatchers, for example, have increased although he did add, "We didn't do it for conservation; we did it for survival."
A Way Forward
David Jenkins was particularly helpful in this area. He had brought maps of the Much Wenlock district with him, together with an aerial photograph and he felt that action could be taken in the same way as at Pont Bren to alleviate any flooding issues. He said that "for Much Wenlock, what is happening is not an urban issue."
He emphasised that any project in the Much Wenlock area should not be seen as any farmer's responsibility but as an opportunity for farmers.
David Jenkins was also very helpful on aspects of funding for tree planting. He said that tree protection was the most expensive part of any scheme and cited the following suggestions as possibilities for approaches to be made about
Government agencies: (a) DEFRA through their farm stewardship scheme.
(b) Natural England. The Chief Executive, Helen
Phillips, knows all about the Pontbren Project
having visited it and seen its advantages for
(c) Forestry Commission grants
(d) Environment Agency
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Local Funding: (a) Much Wenlock Town Council
(b) Shropshire Council
Charitable Funding: e.g. The Woodland Trust
Other: Confederation of British Insurers - who stand to gain considerably from the reduction in claims if homes are less likely to flood.
Finally, this was an immensely profitable and relevant visit and the Much Wenlock Tree Forum owe a huge debt of thanks to Roger and Mrs. Jukes and David Jenkins for the time they spent discussing the Pontbren Scheme, taking us over the site and answering our questions.
[Members of the Much Wenlock Tree forum who attended this visit: Catherine Benbow, Simon Ross, Colin Ryder, John Tuer]
The above report was written by John Tuer on 21st August 2008.
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This Tree Strategy entitled "TREES: Much Wenlock" was compiled and written………………………………………………………………..May 2013