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Government tree champion to clamp down on felling

sheffield streets ahead cropped

A new “tree champion” has been appointed by the government to prevent the unnecessary felling of street trees and promote more planting.

National Forest Company chair Sir William Worsley has been employed by the government for the year long role in which he will be tasked with setting a “bold” direction for the country’s forests and woodlands over the next 25 years.

He will also support the government’s manifesto commitments to plant 11M trees, plus a further 1M in urban areas.

The felling of trees has recently come under the spot light.

In March this year, Sheffield Council faced a UK wide backlash over its plans to cut down almost half of the city’s 36,000 street trees as part of a controversial highways maintenance contract with Amey.

Amey too came under fire for carrying out the work under the £2.2bn Streets Ahead PFI deal.

Network Rail also hit the headlines when “secret” plans to fell track side trees were uncovered.

The government said part of Worsley’s remit would be to bring together mayors, city leaders and other key players across local government to prevent the unnecessary felling of street trees.

It also said he would support the introduction of a new duty for councils to properly consult with communities before trees were cut down.

Worsley said: “I am delighted to be appointed as the Government’s tree champion. Trees and woods are an important part of my life, as they are to local communities. They transform our landscapes, improve our health and wellbeing and help grow the economy.

“I look forward to working with stakeholders and local authorities to promote these benefits and grow the country’s woodland cover.”

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