8 December, 2020

TDC investigates felling of protected trees

Thanet District Council has recently concluded two planning enforcement investigations into alleged works to protected trees without the consent of the local authority. 

A Tree Replacement Notice has been served by the council which requires trees to be replanted at a site in Park Avenue Broadstairs. This followed clearance work on the site earlier this year where a number of trees and undergrowth were removed without consent.  

12 trees of those removed were considered to be protected by Area Tree Preservation Orders from 1956 and 1985 which cover the site. Only the trees present on the site when the orders were made (and any replacements subsequently planted) can be required to be replanted by the council. Those trees that are self seeded are not covered by the Area Tree Protection Order. 

The council has also issued a written warning following the work to a Mountain Ash tree within the Cliftonville Cliff Top Conservation Area in October. Following notification from the public, planned removal works were halted and the tree was assessed by the council’s Horticultural and Biodiversity officer. The tree is expected to regrow and will be monitored over the coming months.

The council is keen to protect trees and establish more wherever possible.  Given existing financial constraints the council is investigating funding and collaborations with charities to support this. 

In November Thanet District Council applied to the DEFRA green recovery fund in collaboration with Trees for Cities for £46k to run three community tree planting days in Ramsgate (approx 30 mature trees for each event) and to employ a dedicated part time open spaces officer for the duration of the project (16 months). The outcome is expected shortly. 

The Climate Change Officer is also working with Earthwatch with the aim of creating a “Tiny forest” in Thanet; a woodland the size of a football pitch as seen on Countryfile last weekend.   Further details will be shared once funding has been received to ensure this is a community led initiative.

As part of the council’s future biodiversity strategy, a bee plan is being prepared by the Open Spaces team with the assistance of the Bumblebee Trust. A proportion  of open spaces land will be managed for pollinators, including creating semi natural habitats with a high percentage of pollinator friendly native herbs and flowers such as clover, yarrow and birds foot trefoil. Full details of this will be prepared for the spring. 

The council is also looking to work with partners across Kent, including other Councils and Kent Wildlife Trust, for ways to most effectively protect and support biodiversity in the coming months. 

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