We received this email today. However it is not just about trees. The shrub is important wildlife habitat – we want it to be opened up to enable other plant species to be introduced to increase biodiversity, not to be cleared altogether. And there is a mistake in the response: it is 13,763m² not 3,763m² of shrub to be cleared.
Date: Fri, 8 Feb 2013 12:19:06 +0000
In response to your query about the numbers of trees due to be removed, I have now got the following information. This is more up to date than the information that I had previously and, as I am sure that you will be pleased to note, the number of trees being removed is less than was first planned.
“The SAPT calculations appear to have been made from the planning drawings. As you may know, we have planning consent for the removal of 265 individual trees. However, as a result of regular design review since the planning decision that number came down to the 258 we have been widely reporting. In addition to this there has always been a commitment to on-site mitigation during the works and because of this the current individual tree removal count is down to 247. We have also taken a decision to reduce the number of new tennis courts being provided by the project from six to four and it is likely that we will be able to retain a further 15 trees in the location designated for the new courts. This decision was as a direct result of concerns raised locally and not taken lightly bearing in mind that the six court approach was fully funded by the Lawn Tennis Association. Overall this brings the current individual tree removal total down to 232 (a 12.5% reduction from the planning consent number), with potentially more to come as we move through this phase of work.
We also have planning consent for the removal of 3,763m² of shrub/scrub/trees. These are the very dense, impenetrable areas in the park, which are quantified by a hatched area on the planning drawings. There will be ground cover and tree removal to open up and make these areas accessible as necessary. Because of the density of the trees, shrub and scrub in these areas we have planning consent for the worse case scenario which was 93 individual trees and 1 tree group. Again, we have sought to mitigate this and our consultant design team are liaising with the sub-contractors on an area to area basis regarding the extent of tree removals in these areas against the overall vision for the new park. This means that if this can be achieved by removing under-storey shrub/scrub only, then the trees in this area will be retained. This approach has already resulted in one of the thicket areas (Area E in your list) being opened up through ground clearance only and leaving the 6 trees in place.
We have agreed with the recommendation of the Greater Manchester Ecology Unit, in the production of the park’s Biodiversity Master Plan, that we should retain some of the wooded wetland area which has developed naturally next to the raised terrace. This will again mean less trees and ground cover being removed than was planned.”
Labour Councillor for Whalley Range