The Green Party’s Deputy Leader will be in the North East to witness how Newcastle became the ‘tree-felling capital of the UK.’
Amelia Womack will meet local Green Party members and members of Save Newcastle Wildlife on Monday evening, at the former Nuns Moor allotment site in the west end of Newcastle.
A recent Sunday Times article revealed that Newcastle City Council felled more trees than any other UK local authority, with 8,414 trees lost to development in the last three years.
Several mature trees were felled at the Nuns Moor Allotment site, at the behest of the Newcastle Freemen.
The Forestry Commission has since ordered the council to replant 150 trees to make up for the loss.
Newcastle Green Party and Save Newcastle Wildlife have opposed many of the developments that have led to tree loss in the city and both groups have been working to highlight the importance of Newcastle’s trees and green spaces for wildlife, air quality and for people’s wellbeing.
Green Party members are calling on the council to reconsider protection for nature in Newcastle.
Newcastle Green Party spokesperson, Alistair Ford, said “The Sunday Time report confirmed oursuspicion that Newcastle City Council placesthe natural environment way down its list of priorities. Since the adoption of the Core Strategy in 2015, the emphasis in our city has been on growth and development at all costs. Sadly, this is often at the expense of nature and trees. Only electing Green Party councillors in Newcastle would ensure the protection of nature is taken seriously.”
Save Newcastle Wildlife has twice called on the City Council to take their responsibilities for protection of the natural environment seriously. The group has renewed its call for more trees with a new petition.
Save Newcastle Wildlife Coordinator, Rachel Locke, said: “Tree cover in Newcastle is already well below the national average, which makes the loss we have seen here all the more tragic.”
“Newcastle is earmarked for another 19,000 houses by 2030 and this – along with other developments in the city – will likely see further loss of trees, hedgerows and green space.”
“Local authorities must partner with other organisations to safeguard green infrastructure, which is vitally important for people and wildlife. We understand the council is reviewing its tree strategy and very much hope it will commit to protect existing trees and increase tree cover.”
The Green Party has opposed the felling of thousands of street trees in Sheffield, carried out under a hugely unpopular programme by the Labour-run council and private contractors.
Campaigners do not want to see a similar situation in Newcastle, which has already lost more Green Belt than any other UK city. The Green Party favours redevelopment of brownfield sites close to central Newcastle rather than development on the greenbelt.