Work Continues to Fell and Replace Decaying and Dying Trees

THE Council’s on-going programme of felling and replacing dying trees in the borough continues next week.

As part of an on-going and rolling condition survey of the borough’s trees, the next phase of work will include felling a number of trees which are decaying or dying and therefore pose a risk to public safety.

In most cases replanting is possible and the felled trees will be replaced through the course of the coming winter. Replanting will be funded from the existing £50,000 annual allocation for highways street tree planting, and from S.106 contributions secured by the Council to improving open spaces.

Since 2010-11, Reading Borough Council has planted around 1,350 trees across the borough – an average of 193 new trees a year. It means despite the on-going programme to fell dangerous trees,  the overall public tree stock is expanding significantly.

In total, 33 trees are being felled as part of this latest phase of works, which began this week and will continue over the next few months.

Next week work begins on a collection of poplars in Christchurch Meadows where a professional survey has identified severe structural decay in 16 trees. The collapse of one of the trees in strong winds last week means that the removal of these trees can no longer be delayed.

Trees to be felled over the coming months include:

Christchurch Meadows:

  • 16 fastigiate poplars around the Whiteknights laundry. Two have collapsed recently and, bar one, the remainder are showing significant decay

Kings Meadow:

  • 1 black poplar, on the driveway accessed from the entrance adjacent to Luscinia View
  • 1 ash, also on the driveway, showing significant decay
  • 4 horse chestnuts over the towpath adjacent to The Coal Woodland, all showing significant decay and recent broken branches
  • 3 trees within The Coal Woodland, which overhang paths and are dead or dying

Cllr Tony Page, Lead Member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said:

“The next phase of tree felling follows recent professional assessments of their condition and the obvious associated risk to public safety. While it is always with regret the Council has to carry out this work,  public safety is paramount and we have little option.

“Trees do deteriorate over time and it is particularly sad where the trees to be felled provide significant amenity value to an area. In the case of the 16 poplars at Christchurch Meadows and the large black poplar at Kings Meadow, that is certainly the case.

“The Council carries out regular and rolling checks on the condition of highways trees and this is a continuation of that work. Wherever possible we replace trees which need to be felled, and this is borne out by the fact that the Council has planted nearly 200 trees a year since 2010, meaning the overall public tree stock has expanded significantly in that time.”