Cambridgeshire

Tree survey to cost Peterborough council almost £3m

A survey of trees and ancient woodlands in Peterborough is to cost the city council almost £3m.

Funding for the "health check" and risk assessment has been allocated equally from the Conservative-led council's budgets for the next five years.

A spokesman said the work would help create a "healthy tree population".

However, Liberal Democrat councillor Nick Sandford expressed concerned about the high annual cost, preferring a longer-term, less costly approach.

"A number of opposition councillors are concerned about allocating more than £700,000 from the budget every year for five years," he said.

'Frequent inspections'

"We proposed something like £250,000 each year over a longer period, which would be more sustainable.

"Tree maintenance is important, and I would very much support an annual survey, but throwing money at it isn't necessarily the right way to address the problem," he added.

The survey will map hundreds of thousands of council-owned trees and 277 hectares (684 acres) of ancient woodland in and around Peterborough.

The work will be carried out by surveyors working for Enterprise Peterborough, an organisation contracted to provide a number of services to the council including waste collection, recycling and grounds maintenance.

City councillor Nigel North, said: "There is a need to improve our knowledge of trees in the city, which is why the cabinet identified £750,000 in this year's budget and [funds] in the next four years' budgets to carry out an in-depth tree survey to manage our tree stock.

"There will also be an increased frequency of inspection to ensure that the council's trees and woodlands are maintained in a safe condition."

Where trees needed to be felled, new ones would be planted and the public consulted before any work was carried out, he added.

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