Feedback is wanted on a new strategy aimed at significantly increasing tree cover in Teignbridge.
Recognising the benefits trees provide and the increasingly important role they play in mitigating the effects of climate change, flood amelioration and pollution control, the Council has produced its first tree strategy.
Teignbridge hopes that through partnership working and promoting best practice tree management, the quality of the tree canopy cover across the district can be improved and area increased by 3% over the life of the five year strategy.
Primarily focusing on what the council can do on the land it owns, the strategy – the right tree in the right place – sets an ambitious goal of increasing Teignbridge’s tree canopy cover from the current 22 per cent to the Woodland Trust’s target of 25 per cent, reducing the impact that can be caused by climate change and disease.
In addition to 22 hectares of woodland, the Council manages a significant tree stock in nature reserves, parks and open spaces, cemeteries and closed churchyards. Across the district, Teignbridge has 179 tree species and the woodlands in particular provide both important local visual landscape features as well as important habitats.
Currently the tree stock is estimated to store some 5,375 tonnes of carbon with that figure likely to increase as the Council’s generally young tree population grows older.
The Council commits in the new strategy to maintaining a diverse tree stock by improving age and species diversity, maximising the benefits to wildlife and habitat of maintaining and expanding tree stocks.
Council land and trees play an important role connecting habitats with wildlife corridors, buffering impacts on sites of importance and is managed in ways that reflect the surrounding area.
Over recent years, the Council has a good track record of tree planting, working with the Woodland Trust to plant over 1,500 saplings in each of the past two years and in the same period a further 2500 in the Council’s new Ridge Top Park, Exminster
Where development is taking place, Teignbridge also commits to working with developers to promote high quality landscaping schemes and to retain and protect the best quality trees using Tree Protection Orders and planning controls.
Councillor Jackie Hook, Executive Member for Climate Change, said: “Making sure we maximise the number of trees being planted and ensure they are looked after properly is an important part of our strategy.
“Not only will we do this on our own land but we will work with Town and Parish Councils plus with other landowners to support their efforts, promoting good management of privately owned trees.
“We will also seek to attract more grant funding for trees which then can be made available to landowners as well as being planted on our own land.”
As it is the first council strategy feedback from residents is being sought through a short four week survey so that residents’ views can help shape specific tree initiatives over the next five years.
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