A new Tree Risk Management Framework which will help continue to ensure the safety of the public whilst also safeguarding the future of Barnsley’s growing tree canopy has been approved by Cabinet today, Wednesday 7 October.
There are approximately 1.2 million trees of various types, ages and sizes in the borough of which about 215,000 come under the responsibility of the council. Tree canopy coverage equates to around 16 per cent of all the land in Barnsley and in some electoral wards, this extends to nearly a third. There are four trees to every one resident in Barnsley meaning there is a significant population to manage.
At their last meeting Cabinet approved a major tree planting programme, which as part of our Zero 45 climate change targets for a net-zero carbon borough by 2045, will help to re-capture carbon dioxide as well as providing natural flood defences.
Today Cabinet approved a new Tree Risk Management Framework which will ensure there is a thorough regime of inspection of trees on land owned and controlled by the council. Inspection will be prioritised based on the level of risk in the area of the tree. These will be prioritised on factors like volume of traffic on highways, level of pedestrian movement, and key characteristics of the trees themselves such as age and species known to be of higher risk.
High priorities will include council-owned land around schools, shopping precincts, emergency and medical facilities where there are trees in higher-risk categories.
Cllr Chris Lamb, Cabinet Spokesperson for Place (Environment and Transportation) said: “In Barnsley we have a wonderfully green and beautiful borough which we want to protect for future generations to enjoy. We know a healthy and sustainable tree population plays a crucial part in helping create an attractive and vibrant landscape where people want to live, work and visit, and the overwhelming majority of the local tree population is strong and healthy.
“We are committed to ensuring that that the public are protected from any danger that damaged or diseased trees may pose through the risk of falling branches and other safety risks.
“This new framework will ensure we have a thorough risk-based approach to the good management of our trees across the borough. The public need to be reminded that while trees have massive benefits to the environment and wildlife and should be protected, we all have a responsibility to take good care of trees on our property. Regular inspection and maintenance are needed to make sure you, your family, neighbours and members of the public remain safe.
“I’d also like to remind the public that vandalism of trees on council land and in our parks, or any trees which are not on your land, will not be tolerated and could be dangerous.”
For more information or to report a problem with trees, see barnsley.gov.uk/trees.