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Article : How to campaign to save trees in your area

Articles, Poems & Information > How to campaign to save trees in your area

Author: Mark Naughton & Denise Tansley (1st November 2008)
We were contacted by Bev Statom-Barnett in July 2007 as her local council were intending on allowing a local housing association cut down a mature oak, sycamore and other trees to make way for a block of flats. We gave Bev some advice on how to campaign against her council.

Bev replied:
"I wanted to let you know how I got on. I got a petition going to save an Oak tree more than a hundred years old. The local Council had allowed the tree to be cut down to make way for a block of flats. After getting some advice from yourselves and having an ornithologist study the habitat in the tree, which consisted of a flock of Waxwings! I managed to get the council to realise it couldn't be cut down. The flats have now been built around it and the tree now has a tree preservation order on it."

Thank you to Bev for granting us permission to use her images.

Save Our Earth - Tree by Bev Statom-Barnett
Shows how close the tree is to the building work.
Save Our Earth - Tree by Bev Statom-Barnett
Shows the dug up road where they had to lay the water pipes to miss the roots of the tree.
Save Our Earth - Tree by Bev Statom-Barnett
Unfortunately shows the remnants of another tree we didn't get chance to save. The Council took it down early one morning with no warning. When we approached the work men they said it had Dutch Elm disease and so had to be cut down, they wouldn't accept it was an Oak tree!

We realised there may be many more people in the same situation as Bev so we decided to publish the advice we gave her. Good luck!

  1. Your best solution is to seek tree preservation order for the trees - this has to go through your council. If a tree has one already listed then the council cannot cut the tree down.

  2. Many trees are protected if you find that there are bats, red squirrels or some birds which are protected or endangered - if you notice any of these or other animals which maybe living in the tree or using the tree, consult a wildlife specialist who can come and advise you and then take this to the council.

  3. You could organise a protest outside the tree with banners and horns and invite the local press down for an interview. Councils do not like bad publicity - in actual fact, has the planning application been made for the flats or is it still pending? If so, contact them and send a petition which you should gather about why the tree should be left as it is. Numerous councils see flats as ideal opportunities to house a number of people in one area - saves on land space - and allows them to maximise the council tax they receive. The more press coverage you gather and more signatures you get then you will have a stronger case to put against the proposed development. If you are to protest or gather signatures in shopping areas, you will have to contact the council to ask their permission.

  4. Since it is a local issue, you would be better off getting local people involved. Sell it to them about the inconvenience of building work going on, the hassle, the dirt and grime, the deliveries etc etc and they will surely sign. When you present your petition, make sure it goes to the mayor with press coverage again - the more determined you are, the more you will succeed. All local people need to join together as individual voices will not raise an eyebrow. If you write a letter or get an interview with the local paper saying you are setting up an action group to save the tree, you will surely get a large number of supporters who will help to protect these magnificent trees.

Document last updated on Wednesday 01 August 2018

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