What most of us value is a good environment with all the protections in place for us to maintain it.
Many trees, whether veteran or with protected status, should be listed to provide additional protection. A protected tree is only as good as the local authority wishes it to be.
When Tower Hamlets were about to fell eleven protected trees and uproot an ancient tree to make space for a private development, The East London Garden Society requested all London boroughs for details of their protected trees and to include the number and their species.
What began as an enquiry under The Freedom of Information Act has brought to light how each London borough regards its responsibility for the environment and there are glaring differences between them. Out of thirty-two London boroughs, Croydon, Waltham Forest, Tower Hamlets and Hounslow failed to reply to our request under The Freedom of Information Act within the timescale allowed. Those that have replied can be seen below.
Remember, these trees are supposed to be protected. If there is no listing or a record of the species, how can they be protected?
The East London Garden Society has viewed the websites of the local authorities which have failed to replied. Tower Hamlets has an interactive map which is not usable and Waltham Forest states they protect clusters of trees.
As can be seen from the replies, very few local authorities comply with the regulations. Bromley and Hammersmith & Fulham have stated they have too many trees to count. Bexley do not have a digital record, so are unable to provide the information required. Enfield stated that it would take too long to provide the information required, but we could do it ourselves subject to financial cost.
Shall specify the trees, groups of trees or woodlands to which it relates.
Where the order relates to a group of trees, shall specify the number of trees of each species in the group.
Shall indicate the position of the trees, groups of trees or woodlands, as the case may be, by reference to a map.
Protected Trees are a matter or importance, not only for the provision of oxygen, but as a marker for how much our concern for the local environment is shown. If local authorities are not complying with current legislation, how much are they going to care about our the environment in general.
The following Boroughs have provided their information. See if trees in your street are included.
The TPOs in the Borough can be viewed on this map. From the left-hand menu, select 'Environment and Planning', ‘Tree Preservation Orders’ and tick the 'Tree Preservation Orders' checkbox to show the TPO locations on the map. Click the property marked by the yellow dot to open the TPO information.
The TPOs in the Borough can be viewed on this map. For a copy of the required TPO enter the property/site address in the location box at the top of the map, go to Legend, select ‘Tree Preservation Order’ and a pushpin will indicate the desired property. Click the property marked by the pin and open the TPO link.
Records are not kept if the tree is ancient or veteran in conservation areas or of the species of all trees in the conservation areas. Records are retained of TPO trees but the number of TPO protected ancient or veteran trees cannot be provided, or the tree species.
Eventually replied outside of the FOI request time limit but failed to provide the location of its trees.
There are approximately 40,000 or more Protected Trees in the Borough. The trees in Conservation Areas with Woodland TPO's and Area TPO's are not listed individually.
Ancient and veteran trees on land in private gardens: TPO 439 Manor Fields – Sweet Chestnut TPO 440 Wildcroft Manor – Sweet Chestnut TPO 441 Royal Hospital for Neuro-Disability West Hill – Oak TPO 442 10 Daleside Road (rear) - Oak
Ancient and veteran trees on land in Council ownership: Battersea Park - Black Walnut Strawberry tree Tooting common - Dr Johnson Avenue - Oak Lido - Oak Alton estate - London Plane Lucombe Oak
Details of these Tree Preservation Orders can also be found on the Councils GIS map.
Administer 705 Tree Preservation Orders, many of which protect multiple trees. Data on the total number or species of trees protected is not held as many of the Orders contain areas of trees which are simply classed as ‘any tree of whatever species’. Tree Preservation Orders do not record the age of trees, so which trees are classed as ancient or veteran is not recorded.