Council to plant an extra 1,000 street trees but concerns remain
One thousand street trees are to be planted across the borough's from November.
Residential areas, town centres, parks and housing estates are all set to benefit from the trees which will include varieties such as cherry, lime, rowan and birch.
The work is being undertaken by Wandsworth Council and the new allocation takes the number of trees planted in the borough since 2008 to 3,000.
Many of the street trees are monitored by tree wardens and Wandsworth was one of the first urban councils in the country to establish a network of wardens, who act as the eyes and ears of the town hall by keeping a close watch on the health and well-being of trees in their neighbourhood.
But while the head of the borough's tree wardens, Andrew Wills, is happy with the new announcement, he still has serious concerns about the council's general policy towards trees in the borough.
Mr Wills, Wandsworth tree warden network co-ordinator, said: "We are obviously delighted that such a large number of new trees are being planted and we very much look forward to helping ensure that they are given every chance of survival.
"We are however concerned that the council is not doing enough to prevent existing large mature trees from being felled in the name of development.
"In particular it appears that the council’s planning department makes it all too easy for property developers to remove such trees (including those with Tree Protection Orders) in exchange for the developer's agreement to plant replacement trees.
"The reality is that such replacement trees are small and often poor specimens which are neglected once the development is finished and the developer has moved on.
"Worse still are situations where the planting of replacement trees never occurs and no enforcement action is taken by the council.
"In any event small trees are no substitute for mature trees in terms of the economic, aesthetic and health benefits that mature trees provide.
"Of course over time, with some luck, young small trees will hopefully develop into large mature specimens however the reality is that this typically takes many decades and given that the removal by developers of the original tree is often unnecessary, it makes no sense."
There are now more than 15,000 growing in Wandsworth and another 60,000 in the borough’s parks commons and open spaces.