Shropshire Council is seeking permission to fell a Norway Maple in Castle Street car park. The council plans to reduce it to ground level because there is a split between a major branch and the main trunk. Although this split has been there for a good while, I can understand why the council is concerned that it poses a safety risk to users of the car park. But this does not mean the entire tree should be felled.

The tree is suffering from poor management but it is healthy. It needs arboricultural care, not razing to the ground.

Despite Shropshire Council declaring a climate emergency just weeks ago, there are no plans for a replacement tree.

An update is provided at the end of this article. See also my subsequent article.

The neglected Norway Maple
The split

It looks to me as though there has been no management of this tree since it was planted, certainly since Shropshire Council took responsibility for it a decade ago. It has grown unevenly and one limb on its west side looking vulnerable to falling into the car park. But with some expert work the limb can be severed and the tree reshaped.

People entering the car park should see trees before they negotiate the serried ranks of parked vehicles. Trees tell visitors that Ludlow cares about its green spaces and biodiversity – which we do. They show that Shropshire Council cares about climate change and the role of trees in slowing and limiting increasing temperatures. Trees show that the council recognises that trees mop up pollution from vehicles and keep our air cleaner.

But, alas, Shropshire Council’s intention is to fell the tree without replacement. That is unacceptable and I hope residents and the town council object. The permission for felling will go through automatically if there are no objections. You can object through the planning portal (19/03566/TCA).

Update: 16 August 2019

Peter Norman, Ludlow Town Council’s volunteer tree warden, has copied me into an email explaining why he asked Shropshire Council to look at the tree. This is the argument he plans to make at Representational Committee on Wednesday, 21 August:

In my view, the structural form of this three-stemmed tree with included bark and incipient rot between the stems is inherently dangerous. It will only become more so as the stems increase in girth and the weight and wind resistance of the crown increase the stress on the already splitting base. Personally, I am relieved to see that the County propose felling. 
I think that the alternative of removing two of the three trunks would produce a tree of very poor form and still with a short life expectancy. Far better to replant with a good specimen; the only drawback to this alternative is that the evidence of the other trees in the carpark is that aftercare is very poor.
4 thought on “Yet another Norway Maple to be felled in Ludlow – this time it’s Shropshire Council to blame for unnecessary felling (updated)”
  1. What will cost the least? repairing! it or knocking it down to put in a new one?That is probably what the council are thinking. However what is best for the long run should be the priority.

  2. I’ve objected (via email to Planning @ Craven Arms as their site’s down) to this mindless proposal; and suggested a Tree Preservation Order instead.

    Thanks for the tip-off.

  3. I trust Peter Norman’s knowledge, judgement and his commitment to maiming the number and health of place appropriate trees in our local environment absolutely. I applaud Andy’s openness in publishing Peter’s comments in his search for the best sustainable way forward rather than whipping up a ‘shock-horror story’ when it is not justified – even if it is at odds with his published first instincts. This is a behaviour pattern all too uncommon in our ‘representatives’ at all levels (the higher they get the worse it seems to be). So – the emphasis should revert to where it should have been in the first place – the commitment of our representatives and our money to deploy ‘care’ and funds to maintain, preserve and our invest in the expansion of our communities tree population Any policy and practice that fails to do this makes a mockery of any commitment to responding to the Climate Emergency and ignores the subtle, but cumulatively enormous benefits of trees to individuals and society as a whole. This includes mood, ‘energy’ and aesthetics which, again subtly, manifest themselves in the long term health of our local economy (eg quality of life, work, productivity, tourism) which in turn – fund sustainable investment. We should fight to save trees that should be saved, not allow the short term profits or cost savings of developers or councils to become dominant, and where an important one ‘has to go’ – (as appears appropriate for this one) replace and maintain it.

  4. Andy – please edit the first level be if my comment on trees if you choose to publish it. I meant ‘maintaining’ not ‘maiming’. How embarrassing! Good job on this.

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