Council’s tree co-ordinator role ‘to be cut’ in new year


- Credit: Archant

Huntingdonshire District Council has been criticised for a decision to cut its tree warden co-ordinator role in a bid to make savings.

From April 2017, the position will no longer exist within the authority, which, critics have said, will result in a disconnected service between the council and the tree warden community.

The tree co-ordinator works to manage the district’s tree stock, which includes, maintenance.

The co-ordinator, as a part of the tree and landscape section of the planning department, also provides advice on the removal of trees and forms part of the overall planning application processes.

The co-ordinator also works with the tree warden community within Huntingdonshire, a network of volunteers based in parishes, which has been utilised to help plant new trees and conduct surveys.

The proposal has been met with “considerable concern” from parish and town councils around the district.

A spokesman for Holywell-cum-Needingworth Parish Council said: “It is difficult to understand how this decision has been arrived at, bearing in mind the relatively small savings compared with the costs which benefit the whole community.”

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There are now calls for the district council to rethink its decision to allow for a consultation to take place before reaching a decision.

Councillor Graham Bull, executive councillor for planning policy, housing and infra-structure, said: “The district council is the only authority in Cambridgeshire that still has a tree warden co-ordinator.

“The council still has to find savings, and this means difficult decisions have to be made. As part of these savings, we have decided that we will not be funding a tree warden co-ordinator post in the medium to long term.

“We understand and appreciate the work that tree wardens do, and understand the work the council’s tree warden co-ordinator provides is valued support to tree wardens.”

In future, the work of the tree warden will be divided between an arboricultural officer and landscape officer.