Following a public meeting of 21st March 2016, the Chair of the BTF formulated some questions which we sent to some of the then Mayoral Candidates.
- Do you support the need for increased tree cover in a city for reasons of climate change mitigation, public health, education and well-being?
- If so how will you support initiatives to increase private and grant funding, facilitate planting and the protection of trees and ensure there is adequate resource in the council to do this?
- How will you ensure that the council works with the Tree Forum and uses it as a conduit for formatting, consulting and communicating tree policy and for liaising with other community organisations?
- How will you develop an external funding model to bring in business, private and other monies for tree planting in Bristol?
- How will you work with Highways Department to ensure all opportunities are taken to plant trees in pavement buildouts, street pavements, central reservations and other locations and ensure trees are seen as an integral part of the street scene?
- How would you support a city wide plan to replace tree stumps by 2020?
- How would you see that trees are treated as capital assets for accounting purposes?
- How would you ensue the protection of the trees in Castle Park (St Mary le Port) from development, which threatens to lead to tree felling?
- How will you ensure that the planning department adopts a robust approach to tree protection and mitigation in all construction in Bristol, including construction for affordable homes and student accommodation?
This is the answer from our new mayor, Marvin Rees:
Thank you for getting in touch to raise a number of issues regarding the trees in our city. It’s great to hear from people all over Bristol.
I share the goals of the Bristol Tree Forum, and agree that increased tree cover in the city can play an important role in helping with climate change mitigation, as well as enhancing public health and general well-being. It is with this in mind that I am committed to protecting our environment, and the trees around our city.
You have raised a number of specific issues, some of which would involve spending commitments. At this time I am unable to commit to any specific spending, It is impossible to make specific spending commitments until we have opened the books and seen what financial situation we are left with. However, I can guarantee that we will be in touch after the election, at which time we will be able to discuss these matters in much more detail. I will continue to consult with and work with groups such as the Bristol Tree Forum to ensure that we are making policy in a way that is environmentally sustainable. We will in any case continue to protect trees across the city through our planning and conservation policies.
I will continue to bear in mind the specific points that you have raised during and after the election, and I look forward to working with you, and with other similar organisations, to ensure that we protect our trees and our environment.
If you would like me to address any of the specific points you have raised in more detail, please feel free to get in touch and I will do the best I can to answer your questions.