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Tree Strategy

Trees are important to us as a district and as individuals. They are beautiful to look at, often inspire a feeling of awe and are symbols of our love of the environment. They are homes to animals, birds and insects and provide us with shade, clean air and a stable environment. Sometimes trees are planted as a celebration, a symbol or a memorial, making them even more special to us. They can also provide us with fruit and nuts, a solution to flooding risks and can be part of the solution to climate change.

As part of the The Kent Environment Strategy, Kent County Council has produced a tree cover report which shows that Thanet has the lowest percentage tree cover in Kent. This is partly due to our coastal location and rural heritage however TDC wants to address this issue and start to increase tree cover on the Isle of Thanet for the benefit of everyone.

  • We have started to prepare tree planting plans which include the number of trees that could be planted, the types of trees that would be suitable for the specific area and the costs involved in each park/green project.
  • We are working with many community groups in their tree planting projects, facilitating action in the community and within schools e.g. Ramsgate Art School. If you would like advice from our team on your planting project email: openspaces@thanet.gov.uk.
  • We are also working with community groups who are planting trees on TDC land in an advisory capacity e.g. ITTWI and Friend of Mockett’s Wood.
  • The Planning department has created a map of all the trees with tree protection orders within Thanet. This will greatly assist with the protection of special trees and will assist with future planning applications. See our TPO map for more information
  • The Biodiversity and Horticultural Officer assists with planning applications involving TPO trees and trees in conservation areas in order to ensure that trees are only cut down when no other options are available.
  • To report a tree at risk of being cut down or to apply for a tree protection order please see our Protected Trees pages.
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The main stumbling block to planting more trees is the funding necessary to do so. The cost of the three year after care activities is often more than the cost of the trees themselves. As an example, the price of a standard sized tree and stakes is approximately £250 whereas the cost of watering and maintaining that tree for three years is approximately £300. Many newly planted trees need to be watered at least every fortnight in the warmer months and the logistics of this task is time consuming and costly.

Another restriction is that TDC’s Open Spaces team is already stretched with the day to day management of open spaces in the whole of Thanet.

In order to address these barriers, the new Climate Change Officer is starting to investigate and bid for external funds for more trees and their maintenance.

In November we applied to the DEFRA green recovery fund to employ a new open spaces member to run tree planting days in Ramsgate including tree aftercare. Unfortunately, the bid was not won this time.

We are also working with charities such as Trees for cities and Earthwatch who will assist us with planting more trees and hopefully a “Tiny forest”. This is a forest the size of a tennis court. We will communicate with the public more about this when if we receive the funding as it will be a community led event and we want as many people to be involved as possible.

The Open Spaces Team is looking forward to organising tree planting days with the community in the future once we have achieved funding.

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The Climate Change Officer is tasked with writing the Tree Strategy for Thanet which aims to increase tree cover and to create a functional and beautiful biodiversity network throughout the district in collaboration with a new Biodiversity Strategy.

The Tree Strategy will address the following:

  • Thanet as a whole
    • The strategy will look at Thanet as a whole and start to plan out where trees can be added and what tree species would be suitable in each specific area. For example, different species and designs of planting would be used in drought prone areas compared to areas that have risk of surface water flooding. We need the right tree in the right place.
  • TDC Open spaces
    • We want to plant more trees on the open spaces that we manage and engage with the community in tree planting activities, especially when we have more funding and assistance from charities.
  • Town and Parish councils
    • We want to facilitate Parish and Town Councils to continue to improve the tree cover in their towns and villages and to engage their local community in tree planting activities.
  • KCC
    • We will work with KCC and encourage them to protect and maintain our street trees in the district.
  • Developments
    • There are policies in the new Local Plan which seek to protect trees on development sites, and require new planting as part of development. These will be reviewed to ensure that they are effective, and we will devise amended planning policies which place more value on trees on development sites.
  • We will also devise amended planning policies to ensure that if trees are planted in new developments that they must be looked after until they are fully established.
  • We will, as part of the new Local Plan, work to ensure a robust policy relationship between biodiversity “net gain”; woodland protection/planting; green infrastructure and the Council’s new Tree Strategy.
  • Land owners and farmers
    • We want to encourage landowners to set aside some of their land for tree planting and biodiversity.
  • Individuals
    • We would love to encourage individuals to get involved with their local Town and Parish Councils and assist them with tree planting activity. You can also contact our Open Spaces team if you have a garden large enough to plant trees and want to discuss how you might do this. Email: openspaces@thanet.gov.uk
  • Monitoring
    • We want to keep a full record of trees across the district, monitoring how many are being cut down and how many are being planted, so we know if tree cover is increasing.
  • The Climate Change Officer and Strategic Planning Officer are also working with KCC on their Kent wide strategies such as the Natural Solutions to Climate Change Project. We will also be guided by the emerging KCC Tree Strategy and the England Tree Strategy which was consulted on in September 2020 See https://consult.defra.gov.uk/forestry/england-tree-strategy/.
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In October 2019 KCC committed to plant a tree for every person in Kent, which totals just over 1.5 million. Increasing tree cover will be an important part of the council and county’s strategy for reaching a net-zero target.

Over the coming year, KCC will determine:

  • how the Kent council can better protect and restore our existing trees and native woodland
  • where in the county opportunities exist for the creation, restoration and protection of woods and trees
  • what contribution KCC can make to the national target of 19% UK woodland cover by 2050
  • how to ensure any new tree cover not only provides a role in the storage of carbon, but also supports the recovery of the county’s wildlife and benefits its residents.

Trees are just one of the natural solutions to climate change. As an authority, KCC will consider the opportunities offered by other solutions such as grassland, wetland and saltmarsh.

KCC’s commitment to increase tree cover is part of a wider strategy for the protection, restoration and creation of natural solutions to mitigate and adapt to climate change, support biodiversity and promote multiple benefits.

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The Climate Change officer is also tasked with writing a Biodiversity Strategy for Thanet. This will include (but is not limited to) the following:

  • TDC Open Space land
    • We are working on a Bee plan for Thanet which will include managing a percentage of open spaces land for pollinators. This will include creating semi natural habitats on some of our open spaces with an abundance of pollinator friendly native herbs and flowers such as clover, yarrow and bird’s foot trefoil.
  • Town and Parish Councils
    • We want to encourage and facilitate Town and Parish Councils to make a bee and biodiversity plan for their town and encourage their residents to get involved in saving the bee and other pollinators.
  • KCC
    • We want to work with KCC on improving the biodiversity of roadside verges to assist with connectivity between fragmented open spaces.
  • Developments
    • The biodiversity net gain planning policy means that developers must improve the biodiversity of their chosen development site. We are working on what this means for the developer, how we can encourage this and how this can be enforced. A legal requirement of at least 10% biodiversity net gain may come into force through the Environment Bill and we are encouraging developers to use the Natural England Biodiversity metric.
  • Farmers
    • The new Agriculture Bill rewards farmers for practices that result in increased biodiversity, soil health and reduced carbon footprint under the new Environmental Land Management Scheme. We are eager to work with farmers in the area to promote biodiversity friendly and conservation farming methods in Thanet.
  • Individuals
    • We want to encourage all residents to do their bit for biodiversity especially if they have a garden e.g. manage a percentage of lawn for insects (don’t cut it so often), plant bee friendly seeds and use insect friendly chemicals in your garden. Please read the “How to stop the biodiversity decline” section of the climate change pages for more guidance.
  • The H&B Officer will also develop guidance for residents on how they can best improve their garden for biodiversity whilst achieving an aesthetically pleasing area.
  • Coastal biodiversity
  • KCC has also recently approved The Kent Biodiversity Strategy 2020 to 2045 and the Bee Plan which will further assist in the creation of the strategy for our district.
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