Clifton and Hotwells
Improvement Society (CHIS)

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TREES 2007-8

Richard Bland
This year has seen an important development in the way the Council Arboricultural Department goes about its work. They are responsible for about 100,000 trees across the city, and are strongly motivated to increase the amount of tree planting. They have been given additional funds, and have begun to work on a massive maintenance back-log. This has led to controversy both on Redland Green and The Mall Gardens, and the result has been the creation of a Bristol Tree Forum, modelled on the very successful Parks Forum, in which Councillors, Officers and representatives of amenity groups meet to try to reach agreement on the treatment of trees that are often much-loved, but some of which present an unacceptable risk of harm to life or property. It is early days, but officers have a much clearer understanding of the need to provide accurate information about proposed work, and I, and others involved, have learnt a lot about tree disease and risk.
Several trees have had to be felled- including the wonderful double Cherry in St Andrews churchyard, (and a replacement cherry is already in place) and two Black Poplars and a Holm Oak on Bobby's Field. I was informed about these, and commented on them. There was also much concern about a thinning programme in the garden of Goldney House. CHIS has offered money to help buy replacements in the Mall Gardens when they are needed.
The death of the Wellingtonia in Pembroke Vale has been a slow, sad, process. These magnificent trees mostly date back to the 1850s when seed first became available, and they often mark the site of a great estate, long vanished. Several others have died recently in Bristol; in the Sierra Nevada they happily live for 5000 years, and it may be that our climate is neither hot nor cold enough for them.

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