Local authorities are to be required to consult with residents before felling trees in their areas under a new duty, the environment secretary has said.
Michael Gove has announced the appointment of a Tree Champion whose role will be to ‘drive forward’ planting rates and prevent the unnecessary felling of street trees.
The new position, which will be taken up by the current chair of the National Forest Company, Sir William Worsley, will help bring together mayors and city leaders across local government to prevent the ‘unnecessary felling’ of street trees.
The Tree Champion will support the introduction of a new duty for councils to ‘properly consult’ with communities before they cut down trees, and will promote the development of comprehensive Tree and Woodland Strategies at the local level.
‘We have a responsibility to make sure the next generation inherit the woodlands, forests and trees they deserve,’ said Mr Gove.
‘We are beginning to see good progress in growing tree cover, but we need to go further – and faster.
‘I’m confident Sir William Worsley will bring the expertise and vision required to rapidly drive forward planting rates and prevent street trees being felled.’
Sir Worsley said he was ‘delighted’ with the appointment.
‘Trees and woods are an important part of my life, as they are to local communities,’ he said.
‘They transform our landscapes, improve our health and wellbeing and help grow the economy.
‘I look forward to working with stakeholders and local authorities to promote these benefits and grow the country’s woodland cover.’