CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Why do these trees not have protection orders on them?

04 April, 2020

Protesters at the ‘little forest’ near Highbury Corner

• FOLLOWING the many letters in the Tribune over the past weeks about the imminent “little forest” felling at Dixon Clark Court, and your report by Sam Ferguson, no one has yet mentioned Tree Protection Orders (TPOs).

I understand that when Dixon Clark Court was originally built in 1966, providing green space and trees round the block development was an integral part of the plans and deemed, quite rightly, necessary for the residents.

Somehow this has changed and now, seven trees are due to be chopped down to make way for a private block of flats, the profits of which will pay towards the social housing due to be built behind Dixon Clark Court in what used to be their community garden.

The trees have had a stay of execution partly thanks to the efforts of many people standing guard for weeks, and partly as Islington Council is understandably focusing on the current coronavirus crisis.

We all get that we need social housing. But it’s not a binary choice of housing or trees. It’s housing and trees. We see more than ever the value of nature particularly in these troubled and constrained days.

A quote from the council’s own website: “Trees within Islington may be protected by tree preservation orders or by virtue of being in a conservation area and, in some cases, by planning conditions.”

The interactive map clearly shows the number of trees which are TPO-protected. But mysteriously, not the seven under current threat.

If I had a garden with even one mature tree in it, let alone seven, the chances are that it would have a TPO on it, meaning that I would be legally obliged not to cut it down, only to carry out minimal trimming and that by a qualified tree surgeon with specific approval from the council. Which makes sense.

So why are these seven trees not protected by TPOs?

EILIDH MURRAY, N1

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