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Felicity Norman of Luston, Leominster, says we really do need our urban trees
8:00am Wednesday 20th June 2012 in Letters
HEREFORDSHIRE Tree Forum was formed in response to a popular recognition of the need to protect, increase and promote awareness of the value of urban trees throughout the county’s city and market towns.
An early success was this winter’s planting of five lime trees near Whitecross roundabout in memory of Peter Williamson, who devoted much of his life to this cause.
Trees are intrinsic to our lives – aesthetically, as pollution reducers, improvers of our mental and emotional wellbeing, and are seen by many as cherished examples of our city’s natural architecture.
But despite all the sound evidencebased reasons why we need urban trees, they are under constant threat from those who underestimate their place within our built environments.
In response to objections to its decision to move the trees from High Town, the council argues (notwithstanding these trees are in deep concrete sleeves and this is an inappropriate time of year) they can be safely moved to the edge of the city.
Many doubt whether they will survive, but that is not the central issue. The High Town trees were carefully chosen and planted – after more than a decade’s wait – to replace other trees, also removed from High Town in questionable circumstances.
The current trees were planted in response to public demand for trees in the redesigned High Town, and in recognition of the value of this social space, surrounded as they are by seating so residents and visitors alike can enjoy the ambience and visual aspects of our busy city centre from an attractive and safe vantage point.
For all these reasons, which exemplify why Herefordshire Tree Forum is so badly needed, our members deplore the removal of the High Town trees including the dead one which was to have been replaced this spring by Amey.
We understand the competing pressures on space within Hereford city centre, but regret the council’s decision that the only suitable place for another symbol of our county’s heritage has to be where these carefully planted trees are situated.
It sends out a clear message that the despite its rhetoric the council places little value on urban trees.
The priority must now be to ensure that they are replaced promptly and appropriately in High Town. We are looking for assurances from Herefordshire Council that this will be the case.
Members of Herefordshire Tree Forum include the Woodland Trust, Bulmers Foundation, Hereford in Bloom, Hereford Civic Society, Leominster in Bloom, Herefordshire Friends of the Earth and Transition Leominster.
FELICITY NORMAN, Luston, Leominster
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