Despite the efforts of the local community, developer, CPS Homes plans to fell the spectacular copper beech and mature lime tree at Suffolk House on Sunday, March 8.
Suffolk House, a council owned asset sold off to boost local authority coffers, is a locally listed landmark on Romilly Road. The copper beech to be felled is at least 150 years old.
An independent member of the Arboricultural Association noted that removal of these mature trees would have a significant negative visual impact on the Conservation Area.
Despite having declared a Climate Emergency on March 28 2019, and despite the fact that Cardiff has lost, according to a Natural Resources Wales Report, approximately 30 hectares of trees in recent years, Cardiff Council has refused to strengthen protection for mature trees in the city.
The request for improved protection was made by Cardiff Civic Society this year to Councillor Caro Wild, cabinet member for strategic planning & transport, and head of planning, James Clemence. Councillor Wild commented that he believed the current Green Infrastructure SPG and the supporting Technical Guidance Notes (TGNs) to be exemplary, stating in his correspondence that,
“Collectively, these documents amount to over 450 pages and provide a particularly comprehensive approach in adding detail to policy within the LDP. I therefore remain satisfied that the existing Green Infrastructure SPG including the 6 supporting Technical Guidance Notes (TGN’s) (sic) remains fit for purpose and is an exemplar policy approach to promoting green infrastructure, biodiversity and the resilience of ecosystems.”
Nerys Lloyd-Pierce, chair of Cardiff Civic Society believes that there is a powerful disconnect between the documents and their implementation, saying.
“Depite the alleged strength of the documents, Section 6 of the Environment Wales Act, the declared Climate Emergency, and Planning Policy Wales’ guidance on the important contribution trees make to our health and well-being, canopy loss in our city continues unabated. A 450-page document on tree protection is totally meaningless unless it is acted upon.”
“The recently released Capital Ambition document gives barely a passing mention to biodiversity. It is clear that this council has a limited grasp of green issues.”
*The trees have been named Meghan and Harry (the copper beech) by local people
*A single mature tree provides enough clean air for 18 people on a daily basis.
*Trees help mitigate air pollution. Cardiff is the most polluted city in Wales. The UK also has the worst rate of child asthma deaths in Europe, and a significant number of these are due to poor air quality.
*Trees are our frontline defence against the effects of climate change, acting as a ‘carbon sink’ and absorbing exceess C02.
*The loss of mature trees ccannot be mitigated by ‘replacement planting’. Trees take at least half a century to mature, and the planet does not have the luxury of time on its side.
*New planting needs to run in conjunction with the protection of existing mature, green infrastructure.