YP Letters: Tree-planting is vital, but only with the correct species

From Councillor Elizabeth Nash, (Lab) City & Hunslet Ward, Member Leeds City Council City Plans Panel.

The tree-felling saga in Sheffield has caused controversy. But which trees should we be planting? (JPress).

I refer to Tom Richmond’s article, (The Yorkshire Post, March 17) on the importance of trees. I am happy to report that Leeds City Council values trees very much and it insists that, where possible, all major planning applications include an area of landscaping with existing trees protected and new ones planted.

However, I always inquire as to the species being planted in a particular location. Some people think that any tree variety planted anywhere will survive.

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This is not so. Some trees are water-loving, some need fertile soil, many cannot tolerate traffic pollution, some are varieties grown in the South of the UK, some bear berries and fruit which become hazardous when dropped on footpaths, some have such a dense canopy that future residents complain about lack of light, and some have large leaves which do not decompose easily in the autumn.

It grieves me to see the wrong tree planted in the wrong location when it dies a few years’ later.

And dear Tom, most of our paper is made from spruce, fir or pine crops imported for that purpose, and not from beautiful native hardwood trees. Recycling newspapers is important to cut down on imports but not to save street trees. I fully support Dan Jarvis in his quest to plant a million trees in South Yorkshire. Leeds has a similar ambition for the Aire Valley to help to prevent flooding.

From: Dave Ellis, Magdalen Lane, Hedon.

Regarding urban jungle vandalism of street trees. It has taken Sheffield City Council more than 12 months to release the details, that the 25-year highway maintenance contract is “performance-based” with a target of felling 200 trees per year and 17,500 over the contract term.

The street trees in Sheffield have survived Michael Fish’s storm of 1987 and another in 1990.

Mature Elm trees have survived Dutch Elm Disease in the 1970s and healthy trees are being felled which can only be described as “urban jungle vandalism”.

The Government needs to bring in an independent task force to look at and manage the contracts. These mature trees are assisting in reducing air pollution in the urban environment and it is difficult to believe that there are 17,500 trees with diseases or are dangerous because the roots are lifting paving slabs.