Bristol City Council is planting 590 new street trees across Bristol this coming winter. Working with the Forest of Avon Trust and Bristol Tree Forum, the Council is contacting communities in areas where funding has been offered by the Forestry Commission, asking for your support to plant these trees and inviting you to get involved in their care and maintenance. We hope you agree that tree planting will be something positive in your area. We are looking forward to sharing ideas with you and working together to make this happen.
The before and after images above show you how fully grown trees can transform your street and neighbourhood (the image is a visualisation).
The trees will be approximately 2.5- 3.0 metres tall when planted.
Benefits of Trees in Your Street
Trees provide a wealth of benefits, including:
- Slowing climate warming as trees absorb and store carbon dioxide (around half of every tree is stored carbon);
- Providing shade and cooling on hot summer days;
- Slowing the flow of water, reducing local flooding;
- Improving air quality (reducing asthma and other health conditions);
- Bringing wildlife close to home;
- Creating a great outdoor space, making us feel better: so important at this time; and
- Providing a great way for you to take action (through tree planting & care) benefiting your community and the wider environment.
People value the benefits of trees and they can increase your house value by 3 to 7%.
Bristol's Green Streets: New Forestry Commission Funding for Trees
In 2019, Bristol City Council secured funding from the Forestry Commission to help plant 590 street trees and 10 small woodlands across the city. Following consultation, 8 small woodlands were planted last winter, (with the final 2 being planted this year).
The Forestry Commission offered funding for street trees in 59 tree planting clusters in wards with low tree canopy cover. Each had an average of 10 potential tree planting locations and The Council has employed the Forest of Avon Trust to help it deliver the street tree planting, focusing on community consultation and engagement.
The original 59 planting clusters are here; local Councillors have been briefed on these.
Checking for Services
Each potential planting site has had a detailed check by Bristol City Council and the Forest of Avon Trust for services under and above ground (e.g. gas, electricity, telecoms, fibre optic cables), to make sure that we do not plant too close to these. These checks have been completed and sites where services are present have been removed from the planting clusters.
Bristol City Council has carefully considered tree species and has selected appropriate tree types to ensure that trees won't block out large amounts of sunlight to houses, (but would provide shade on hot days), and species which are shallower rooted to prevent any subsidence issues.
The trees will be approximately 2.5- 3.0 metres tall when planted.
Consultation & Next Steps
In September & October 2020 the Forest of Avon Trust, Bristol City Council and Bristol Tree Forum Tree Champions hand-delivered letters to residents closest to the tree planting locations to consult on them, enclosing visualisations of three different tree forms and what they would look like when mature.
Everyone has had the chance to comment on the form of tree they would prefer in their street, through an e-postcard, as well as signing up to help water and care for the trees ensuring they grow to maturity. People have also been able to say why they do not want a tree in the location closest to their house.
Consultation has now ended.
We had over 100 replies from people in support of tree planting, and 65 people have volunteered to help look after the trees once planted this winter.
We have also received some specific feedback to the suggested tree planting. We accept that planting new trees can cause concern for some people. However, we believe that many of the issues raised through consultation can be mitigated by careful choice of tree species or, in some situations, moving tree locations further from properties. Trees do provide lots of benefits, so we are trying to get the balance right in terms of making the most of these benefits while taking into account the concerns of residents.
Following feedback from this consultation Bristol City Council has decided to move the position of some planting plots in some schemes and reduced the number of plots in others.
General issues raised and the City Council's response:
Loss of light and shading - We accept that trees will cast some shade, but we feel that we can minimise this concern by selecting smaller trees and choosing species that have a more open canopy with smaller leaves.
Impact of roots and potential damage to property - Trees will be planted away from drains and other underground services. We will select trees to ensure that they don’t grow too big for the space.
Problem of leaves - We accept that trees will contribute to leaf fall in Autumn. We can reduce this concern, especially on steeper streets where there is more risk of slipping by selecting trees with more open canopies and smaller leaves. Otherwise, streets are regularly cleared of leaves in Autumn by Bristol Waste.
Plans to put in driveways - Some residents have said that they are in the process of installing a driveway to their homes. We have checked with colleagues in our Planning Department to make sure there isn’t a planning application where tree planting is proposed.
Trees won’t be managed - The council actively manages its trees which includes safety inspections and works to ensure that the trees don’t cause undue nuisance to neighbours and users of the highway. We will select trees that won’t grow too big for the space available to reduce the need for maintenance.
In early February, letters were delivered to the addresses of respondents in streets where some trees are to be planted. These set out where the trees are to be planted and the above reasons for this.
Tree planting will take place in February and March 2021. Once planted, trees will need plenty of watering and the Forest of Avon Trust and Bristol Tree Forum will support people interested in volunteering to do this.
The small woodlands have/ will be planted as part of the One Tree per Child programme, drawing down match funding where necessary from the One Tree per Employee campaign.
For information on tree planting as part of the Greenstreets project, please contact John Atkinson of Bristol City Council here. For information on how you can get involved in the planting and/ or its care, please contact Anna Brunton here.