New policy to help manage Wellingborough's 76,000 trees

A council responsible for an estimated 76,000 trees has a new policy on how they are managed.

A tree policy has been produced for Wellingborough
A tree policy has been produced for Wellingborough

The tree policy was drawn up in discussion with Wellingborough Norse following a number of queries raised by customers.

And councillors agreed to adopt it subject to two amendments at a meeting of Wellingborough Council’s services committee on Tuesday.

A report prepared ahead of the meeting said: “The council recognises that trees have an important role in both rural and urban environments.

“Appropriate tree management is needed to ensure that the council fulfils its statutory obligations and takes all reasonable steps to manage trees.

“The council is aware trees are widely regarded as a positive feature, but can raise a variety of potential concerns, from being a nuisance or inconvenience to some people, to potentially causing serious injury or even death.

“As a tree owner the council has a direct responsibility for ensuring that its trees do not pose a danger to the public or property, and are managed appropriately.”

The council, in partnership with Wellingborough Norse, is responsible for an estimated 76,000 trees.

This includes 5,000 trees on public spaces and about 5,000 Northants County Council (NCC) Highway trees which are maintained by Wellingborough Norse under contract with NCC in the Wellingborough and Finedon areas.

The council also owns several hectares of woodland.

The tree policy is intended for the use of council officers, councillors and the local community as a guide to the council’s approach to tree management, and it may be of use when complaints and concerns are raised.

It applies to all trees under the council’s ownership/management, regardless of their location, as well as trees in private ownership which pose a risk to the public.

A six-week consultation on the policy took place last year before a final version was drawn up.

The report discussed by councillors this week said: “If adopted, the policy will provide a document to confirm the council’s tree management processes, making things clearer for the community, and provide a document for the development management team to consider when determining planning applications.”

Councillors resolved that the tree policy is adopted as council policy subject to the following amendments:

- A paragraph is added to the policy to confirm the council’s wish to work in conjunction with residents and local partners to manage the trees in the borough

- A diagram detailing the process of reporting concerns to the council or other agencies, ie Wellingborough Norse, is added to the policy