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I’m posting about this because it is the worst example of tree vandalism I have personally seen & because of the great actions by Canterbury Council in response.
I was told of the vandalism in Wonga Street Canterbury, so just out of interest we went to have a look. I was unprepared for what I saw. Nine street trees, all mature Brushbox had been poisoned. Large drill holes were evident in all trees. It was like the person/people who did this thought – …..hmmm, looks too obvious – so they poisoned other trees on both sides of Wonga Street perhaps to disperse any finger pointing from both the Council & the community.
Who knows why they poisoned these trees. I don’t like to stress money when talking of trees as they provide many more benefits than money, but when talking about tree vandalism, I think it is worth focusing on property value & profit.
What we do know is that the vandal/s significantly decreased the value of many properties here, though I doubt they realize this. A lot of people don’t understand that the street tree out front has a big impact on their own property.
A friend who is a Real Estate Agent in the Inner West wrote the following to me recently –
When a buyer looks at a house they also look at the street. Time & time again I hear “I don’t like this street, it’s got no trees.” Streetscape makes a huge difference to property values.
Wonga Street is a busy road so the trees collected particulate matter & helped purify the air for the houses along here. The Brushbox trees being mature looked great once. You can tell from looking at the other untouched trees further along the street. In my opinion Brushbox trees have the ability to turn an ordinary street into something that is grand & that translates into money.
What Canterbury Council has done deserves praise. They have attached a sign to all the trees that says in large red letters – “This tree has been vandalized,” or “This tree has been poisoned” & ask people to contact the Council if they have any information.
They did not use nails to attach the signs, instead using a metal tie that makes it very difficult to remove the sign while at the same time protecting the tree. That the trees are dead or dying & they still took care not to use nails impressed me. It sends a clear message to people about respect & care for trees.
Next, they have not removed the dead or dying trees. I was told by a resident that these signs have been in place for around 3-years. Another said 12-months or more, but they were new to the area, so I can’t be sure.
If I were to poison a street tree it would be because I wanted it gone. A few months to one year before it was removed would not concern me. However, if the tree had signage on it & was to remain insitu for an indeterminate number of years, that would act as a massive deterrent.
Canterbury Council also planted some replacement trees. It appears that they will not remove the poisoned Brushbox until the new Brushbox trees have established to a decent size. I love that they planted the same species of tree.
Leaving the ugly vandalized tree insitu & with signage while the new tree grows takes the power back to the Council & removes any reward the vandal may have thought they would be gaining. I think their approach is excellent. But then again, I am hardline when it comes to community owned trees paid for by the tax-payers dollar. I do not believe anyone has the right to vandalise public trees & that includes radical pruning to keep the street tree a bonsai.
I imagine those who live in the leafy end of Wonga Street hate to pass these dead & dying trees, but at the same time appreciate that the Council has taken action to ensure that this doesn’t travel the length of the street. They are the ones who benefited by the shade of the Brushbox over this record-breaking hot summer. They will also benefit by higher property values if they decide to sell. I know. A Real Estate Agent told me so.
I was very happy to read of the City of Sydney Council’s new initiative to add more street trees into their LGA by allowing residents to not only choose the trees, but plant them as well.
Called the Neighbourwoods Program, residents can apply for a grant of up to $10,000 “to offset the time & work involved in planting shade trees.” As I understand it, grants will be available for groups of neighbours to plant trees in their street.
The residents can choose what species of tree they wish to plant & the trees don’t have to be natives. This may upset those who lobby for the planting of native trees only, but will please others who have a particular wish for exotics. I imagine the council sees this as breaking down people’s resistance to street trees if they are able to choose to plant what they like.
The Arborist for City of Sydney Council, Karen Sweeney calls this approach – equal opportunity for trees. ”People should have a love affair with their trees. Trees are like puppies; they’ll be with you for a long time.”
I meet a lot of people who talk to me about street trees. The overwhelming response is a dislike or even hatred towards deciduous street trees. We have thousands of these across Marrickville LGA, so that may amount to a lot of tree hatred. I am aware that deciduous street trees are planted to allow sunshine to get through during the winter months, but for me, street upon street of bare thin witchy branches makes for a bleak landscape.
For others, deciduous street trees make for hours of sweeping & cleaning leaves off parked cars, with many doing this daily. When one or more residents desire a street clean of leaf litter while others don’t worry about the fallen leaves at all, this can result in simmering anger. I have been told many times of the “lazy” neighbour who doesn’t sweep up the leaves outside their place.
Almost everyone I have spoken to who said that the tree is bad because it drops too much litter has also said that they wished the Council would remove it. Others don’t like natives & would prefer an ornamental tree or a tree from their homeland. Perhaps this is why we have so many street trees that have been pruned to remain short? A tree that is kept as a shrub is much easier to manage.
I think that the City of Sydney Council’s idea to allow residents to choose their own tree species will be a hit. The fact that some may not choose to plant native species does not worry me because Sydney Council is planning to almost double their urban forest by 2050. I am sure that the Council will ensure that there are sufficient native food-producing species for urban wildlife & so any move from residents to plant non-native trees will balance out.
In addition to this new tree-planting program Sydney Council plans to plant trees in median strips, car parks & public spaces, as well include special trees in a Significant Tree Register. They also plan to educate the community on the benefits of trees.
The City of Sydney Council also surveyed the amount of hard surfaces they have & plan to plant trees in these areas to lower the urban heat island effect. I love that Sydney Council’s focus is on shade trees. A street tree that only creates a minimal amount of shade around itself & does not shade a good part of the road will not have much of an impact in lowering the urban heat island effect. Maybe we will see more broad-leafed trees.
The Neighbourwood program is an exciting initiative. We all benefit from lovely tree-lined streets, even if we do not live in the area. To read more about this see – http://bit.ly/Y60X9J
A green tragedy is happening across North America. Since June 2002, over 100-million Ash trees have died across the Midwest because of a beetle called the emerald ash borer. The feeding larvae of the emerald ash borer create tunnels under the bark destroying the water & nutrient conducting tissues & effectively starving the tree. This massive tree loss has had an enormous impact leaving many parks & tree-lined streets bare.
Then something else was noticed. Not only were the trees dying, but people were dying at higher rates than normal too.
“The U.S. Forest Service looked at mortality rates in counties affected by the emerald ash borer, they found increased mortality rates. Specifically, more people were dying of cardiovascular & lower respiratory tract illness – the first & third most common causes of death in the U.S. As the infestation took over in each of these places, the connection to poor health strengthened. The “relationship between trees & human health” as they put it, is convincingly strong. They controlled for as many other demographic factors as possible. And yet, they are unable to satisfactorily explain why this might be so.”
The researchers looked at a number of factors, including that trees produce oxygen & act as pollution filters. The US urban forest has been given a US$3.8 billion value as pollution filters. The urban forest in Washington DC alone was estimated to have saved US$51 million in annual pollution-related health care costs.
The ability of trees to impact directly & positively on human health was also considered – less anger, less sadness, less negative thoughts, less stress, less pain medication needed, fewer surgical complications, quicker healing, better mental well-being & these are just some of the benefits trees bring to people.
What I found really interesting was that mortality rates increased in areas where the median household income was above average. Typically these neighbourhoods had more street trees & a greater urban forest. “The researchers hypothesize that the rich communities that thrived before the blight arrived thus experienced its destructive effects more potently.” Maybe this event is telling us that no-one is immune from nature loss. See – http://bit.ly/WEQQWf
The December 2012 media release from the UMR-McKell Institute started with, “New research from the UMR-McKell Institute Sydney Confidence Monitor shows that people living in Sydney are significantly less happy than those living in other parts of New South Wales. Sydney scores 56% while the rest of NSW scores 72%.”
The research table showed that Sutherland Shire residents were the happiest in the Sydney region scoring 70%. The North Shore was not too far behind with 63%.
While the researchers made a division for Sydney East & City, they did not do one for the Inner West – lumping us all together as Sydney West. We scored poorly on the happiness index with only 42%. Only 10% of the Sydney West group identified as totally happy, 3% were unsure & the remaining 87% said they were unhappy to varying degrees.
It’s a huge area from the Inner West to Penrith, but remember, in 2010, Deakin University’s annual Australian Unity Wellbeing Index identified Marrickville as the unhappiest suburb in Australia.
Unfortunately, the UMR-McKell Institute Sydney Confidence Monitor doesn’t say why people are suffering from unhappiness, so this absence allows me to bring in trees & green space, as these are known to influence levels of happiness along with income, housing, public transport, bike lanes etc.
The North Shore Times said the following in their article about the research from the UMR-McKell Institute, “North Shore residents are some of Sydney’s happiest with new research ranking the leafy northside’s happiness score above the eastern suburbs, CBD & western Sydney.” http://bit.ly/VAWPe6 The bold is my emphasis as the newspaper included trees as a way to visually define the North Shore.
There has been a bundle of research recently that clearly states trees, canopy cover & green space are fundamental for a physically, mentally & spiritually healthy community, so it does not surprise me that the North Shore would have higher levels of happiness.
Marrickville municipality has the least green space in the whole of Australia. This must count towards also having the unhappiest community in Australia. Yes we have street trees, but their average height is only 5.2-metres & so shorter than other nearby municipalities. You just need to travel to Leichhardt to see this. If you think it is because they have wider roads & footpaths, you just need to look at Erskineville, Glebe or Balmain. These are very leafy suburbs with tall street trees. It can be done. It has been done.
The Forestry Commission of Great Britain published research called, ‘Trees, People & the Built Environment.’ They studied public housing tenants who were allocated flats in areas that had trees & areas that had few or even no trees. The only difference in the housing quality was the presence of trees. They found that “the tenants with high nearby tree cover had higher happiness scores than those with few or no trees in their area. In particular, tenants with nearby trees were more likely to say they were feeling relaxed & were thinking clearly than those with no trees. The results of the study show that our urban trees are not just something to make an area look nice but they may actually be making people happier.” http://bit.ly/S8fjpR
Some would say money brings happiness more than trees do. Disposable income does elevate satisfaction levels & make life easier, though the Deakin University Australian Unity Wellbeing Index Report 2012 said – “Happiness is bought at discount by people who are poor. For people with a household income <$25,000, an additional $6,000 buys an extra point of wellbeing. At a household income of $151-250K it requires an additional $333,333.” This tells me that money does not always bring happiness & you need more of it to keep levels of happiness going.
The research by the Forestry Commission clearly showed that trees within our environment play a massive part in our happiness whatever our financial status. As such, priority should be given to green up our municipality by planting street trees & encouraging the community to plant a tree in their property if they have room.
Where there is new development, they should be required to retain as many trees on site as possible as well as plant new trees, not just low level landscaping.
Council should be encouraging businesses that have street frontages with garden areas to plant these spaces as these areas have a major impact on the way an area looks. Scrappy, weedy areas do not do well with the human psyche & as such, do not contribute to a happy community. The opposite can be said of businesses that look after their properties by having a bit of green if they are able.
Apologies. This is a long post, but I believe the issue is important. From memory the debate for this item lasted around 3-hours.
This was the Council Meeting. Absent: Clr Gardener. The following is how I understood the meeting & all mistakes are mine. Note: MC = Marrickville Council.
The Councillors & Wards are as follows – LABOR: Iskandar/Central, Haylen/North, Tsardoulias/West, Woods/South. GREENS: Phillips/Central, Ellsmore/North, Brooks/West, Leary/South. LIBERALS: Gardener/North, Tyler/West INDEPENDENT: Macri/Central, Hanna/South.
Tree Management – Inventory, Master Plan & Policy Framework – The state of the Marrickville Street Tree Urban Forest are drawn from the Street Tree Inventory Report. For a summary see – http://bit.ly/PURYpe
The recommendation was to -
- receive & note the report;
- provide a capital budget of $170,000 in 2013/14 for street tree removal & replacement;
- where capital renewal reconstruction works are undertaken & conflict exists between a street tree & footpath renewal made with concrete, that conflict shall be resolved by removal & replacement of the tree & installation of the concrete footpath; &
- advise & clearly enunciate any changes to the policies & controls governing tree management within the Marrickville Local Government Area.
There were 10 speakers (including myself) against the recommendation & 1 speaker for the recommendation. For brevity I will outline the issues discussed rather than each speech. The report was described as draconian, shocking, contentious, preposterous & something that inflamed the community.
Issues raised were – Removing street trees fails to acknowledge the value of the tree to the urban environment. The report does not look at other options & other technologies to deal with roots other than tree removal. There was no community consultation. The assessment of public infrastructure is that concrete will win over street trees. Education & consultation needs to happen & this needs to be done street by street. Questioned why community consultation is to happen 10-months after tonight’s decision. Size of tree hole needs to be looked at. There is a need for peer review of the report. There is an inequity of our urban forest compared with other Councils around Sydney. Exorbitant cost ($1,000) to plant a sapling. Climate change & the importance of trees to create a livable environment. Losing older, taller trees that are the very things that make our environment pleasant. Changing community attitudes recognize the value & importance of the urban forest. Contradictory elements in this report compared to the Urban Forest Policy. Council failed to consult with the Environment Committee. The removal of 3,960 trees will leave an enormous hole in the urban forest. The high loss of newly planted trees. Planting new trees over the tree roots of the removed tree, thereby setting the new tree up for failure. The large trees will be lost. We are beset by pollution & need all the help from trees we can get. We do recognise problems with trip hazards & that there are dying & dead trees that need to be removed. Concerned that trees will be removed without the opportunity for the community to comment. Trees should be marked for possible removal with the community given 1-month to comment. Section 5.9 of the LEP sets out the policy of how trees are managed & removed. The LEP has the force of the law. Clause 4 clearly states the requirement for community consultation. There is a huge contrast with the City of Sydney who are increasing their urban forest. They have doubled their trees & want to double this again. Lack of shade increases the Urban Heat Island Effect. Lack of aesthetics results in increased rates of violence in the community. MC’s Urban Forest Policy is more a ‘vision’ & if the recommendation is approved it will be a step in the wrong direction. MC has already adopted water-sensitive designs. Replacing impermeable surfaces with permeable surfaces is a better solution. The Urban Habitat Mosaic is important & concrete can be replaced with an understory. There can be mini-raingardens that water street trees & filter water before it gets to the Cooks River & this will save MC money on watering. MC should involve the community in planting as giving us ownership of trees will lower bills. This is a blanket approval to cut down trees. Only 1 person’s wage per year is being spent on maintaining newly planted trees – no wonder they die. Replacement trees are not canopy trees. We are planting too small & too few species. Trees are not maintained. We are in for a 4-degree rise in temperature & heat waves are predicted. On a recent 41-degree day, thousands of trees died. Bitumen becomes a heat trap. Humans need to keep cool. Trees prolong the life of house paint & concrete footpaths. Would MC be legally liable for the loss of property values? The recommendation is in strong contrast to every MC survey, which advocates for more trees. MC should respect trees & not see them as liabilities. They should show vision & best practice for large trees that are more robust than short trees. Big trees are carbon stores & lower the Heat Island Effect. A tree should only be removed after all avenues have been explored & only after consultation with the community.
And finally this gem – The Urban Forest Policy says that 42,500 trees had been planted. The Tree Inventory said there were 22,608 street trees – so where are the other 47% of missing trees? Only half the trees that have been planted have survived.
The speaker for the recommendations spoke about the following issues – Safety is a big issue. Hard to navigate a wheelchair safely around & over roots & people often need to go onto the road. I have 600mmm access for the wheelchair. MC wants us to get reports that cost thousands of dollars if we want a tree removed that is causing property damage. It should be easier & cheaper for people to have trees removed. The new trees on my street did grow. Tall trees are not stable. The first priority is safety. We need to get the balance right.
Clr Tsardoulias: Moved the motion, but delete point 3. MC staff should look at porous & flexible pavement & stop using asphalt to repair footpaths next to trees. The main issues are serious trip hazards. There is a large incidence of liability over people tripping on our footpaths. Verge gardens are increased. Staff needs direction. If a tree is ready to collapse, staff should do something about this. We need to balance the issues with growing a canopy, maintaining trees & minimizing trip hazards. We need to trim trees & take action when there is an issue between the tree & footpath.
Clr Hanna: If I am going to fix trees in Silver Street then I want to talk to residents of that street. I want to consult with the people living in that street. Clr Tsardoulias: We should talk to all the residents around the tree & plant the right tree or 2 or 3 trees. We have a significant problem & need to do a lot – asap.
Clr Phillips: I’m quite horrified with the recommendations to take a chainsaw to the numbers of trees & that concrete has priority. It’s not with current community attitudes & our own guidelines. It looks at trees as liabilities, not as assets. Large, older trees, particularly Eucalypts will be the trees removed & they are giving a huge impact on the LGA. Pulling out the Eucalypts will change the Australian look to the LGA. We haven’t peer reviewed, sent the report to the Environment Committee or had community consultation, yet we are giving such a strong recommendation. The Street Tree Masterplan is a great idea, a more holistic view & it’s what MC & community needs about removing trees. To make major changes to our other tree policies should require community consultation. Moved amendments – MC refers report to the Environment Committee & this audit be peer reviewed. Maintenance should be included in the $170,000 budget. MC defers any non-urgent work until the Street Tree Masterplan has been adopted.
Mayor Macri: We are talking about removing 98 trees at a cost of $170,000. The rest is renewal within 4-5 years & part of the Street Tree Masterplan. We are voting on 98 trees now. MC self-insures. Trees have been identified as a risk & MC must protect itself. MC spends $23 per tree per year. We have to remove trees. We want to gain canopy. 117 trees are dead. 18% are poor structure. 70% are mature. We have to take a balanced approach & we need to start from the beginning. We have never done it this way. We can’t take an alarmist approach. Once the concrete comes up, that’s the best time to see the roots & sometimes they need to be chopped off.
Clr Ellsmore: There were more than 250 submissions in a petition in under 24-hours. Serious questions have been raised by the community. 80% of trees in my street have cracked the pavement. It is important to remember than the community has gone through a long period of community consultation. Why has the report not been sent to the Environment Committee? Everyone wants a Street Tree Masterplan & have community engagement.
Clr Haylen: We need to take the safety of our residents, which is a genuine concern. Clr Tsardoulias’s amendment, when we are renewing an entire street, the Urban Forest Policy provides the guidelines whether that tree stays. Repair footpath every 2-years or every 10-years? Trees make our place a better place to live. I don’t support a further review. It’s an audit. Next step is a Street Tree Masterplan. Let’s find those vacant spots. Clr Hanna: If the Director was here he would tell you how many people fall on the footpath. We have a lot of older people. Safety comes first. Trees come last.
Clr Leary: Staff need to look at other pavement options, stop using asphalt & consult with residents over verge gardens. Staff also needs to consult with residents of affected streets. (These were incorporated into the amendment.) Clr Tsardoulias: We want to grow & balance services. Fixing cracked footpaths & planting the right trees in the right place.
The amended motion by Clr Tsardoulias – That Council:
- Receive & note the report.
- Refer the report to the Environment Committee.
- Provide a capital budget of $170,000 in 2013/14 for street tree removal & replacement.
- Where capital renewal reconstruction works are undertaken & conflict exists between a street tree & infrastructure, the guidelines outlined in the Urban Forest Strategy should be followed.
- Advise & clearly enunciate any changes to the policies & controls governing tree management within Marrickville LGA.
- Council staff look at other paving options, including porous flexible paving & that staff stop using asphalt for reconstruction of pavements.
- Council staff look at options to increase the number of verge gardens & sustainable gardens.
- Consult with the residents of the streets affected.
- Defer any non-urgent actions arising from the report until the Street Tree Master Plan is completed & adopted & a thorough community consultation is completed.
Vote – unanimous. Motion Carried.
Thanks if you managed to read all of this. Part 2 will be posted tomorrow. Jacqueline
Yesterday ‘Science Alert’ published a great article on recent world-first research by The ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions & The Australian National University in Canberra. The research recommended Councils & residents planting native trees instead of exotics to save native birds.
Marrickville Council’s recently published Tree Inventory found that over 42% of the street tree population is provided by only 5 species. This can’t be good for not only native birds, but also flying foxes either. I doubt that it is the norm for native trees to be planted on private property in Marrickville LGA, so this puts even more pressure on birds to find sufficient food.
The researchers found that –
- Suburbs with more than 30% native street trees have 11% more bird species of all types than those with exotic street trees.
- With the exception of native birds that avoid urban areas, a significantly higher number of bird species – both feral & native – were found in suburbs with more than 30% of Eucalyptus trees.
- Parks with large eucalypts (trunk diameter over a metre) had up to three times the number of bird species than parks with smaller trees. – “So instead of removing these old trees, we can prune them, create zones or put up safety warnings.” Note: 69% of public trees across Marrickville municipality have been found to be “too old” by the recently completed Tree Inventory, meaning it will soon be time for them to be removed. “We can also proactively plan for future large trees, so that the younger can replace the over-mature ones. In addition, these trees can be given greater legislative protection,” the researchers say.”
- While exotic trees are most popular choices in current street tree plans because they provide winter sun they have a negative impact on native birdlife.
To read this excellent article, click here – http://bit.ly/PPni8R They also have the link to the abstract.
Marrickville Council have given notification that they intend to remove a Lemon Scented Gum (Corymbia citriodora)outside 16 Temple Street Stanmore.
Council gave the following reasons why they want to remove this tree –
- “Independent consulting arborist has recommended the tree be removed.
- Several recent incidences of branch failure recorded.
- An independent analysis found that this individual tree has demonstrated a greater propensity to branch failure under wind load than most typical trees.
- The level of risk from this tree cannot be anticipated & is impractical to effectively manage.”
Council says they intend to replace this tree with a Water Gum (Tristaniopsis laurina) during the 2012-2013 annual tree-planting program.
As I was taking photos of the tree a resident rushed out & asked me if Council planned to follow through with the removal of this tree. He was very angry & said something like, “Trees drop branches. So what. That’s what trees do. It’s a native & really good for the environment.”
I feel conflicted regarding this tree. Yes, trees do drop branches. Yes, there is a chance that a falling branch could hurt or kill someone or damage property. However, Sydney’s North Shore has many thousands of these planted as street trees, even along the Pacific Highway. When a branch falls there, the Councils don’t chop the tree down. So many people have told me that they live on the North Shore because trees make it such a lovely environment. They accept that trees drop branches occasionally & see this as a non-issue.
While I was driving home I was wondering what the statistics would be just for Marrickville municipality with car accidents & injury or property damage from street trees. Then two cars collided in front of me.
We are at a risk when driving every day, yet a street tree is seen as a really dangerous thing.
Marrickville Council estimates they have around 25,000 public trees. I’d feel comfortable saying that these trees have caused minimal damage when compared to cars, yet they bring us so many benefits. Ask any Real Estate Agent & they would say that this tree adds considerable value to the property it is outside of as well to the properties on either side. I’d suggest it also adds value to the properties across the street as well.
When I looked at the streetscape it became obvious that this was an important tree. It is far better than the majority of the trees around it in capturing carbon, giving out oxygen, improving air quality (important because there are at least two main roads nearby) & it is a very important food source for urban wildlife. It also creates shade & cools the street.
There is another Eucalypt of comparable size just 7 houses up the hill. Why is Council not recommending that this tree should be removed as well? There are other tall Gum trees in this area. Should these be chopped down too?
Council says, “An independent analysis found that this individual tree has demonstrated a greater propensity to branch failure under wind load than most typical trees.” I’d like to learn more about this. Why is this tree’s propensity higher?
Personally, I think Council should be doing all that they can to keep healthy trees of this height & quality. Its removal will be a tremendous loss to the whole community, not just the residents of Temple Street.
Also Marrickville Council used 16 staples to attach their signs to the tree. This is very disappointing.
Any submissions are due by Wednesday 31st October 2012.
I tried to find some recent statistics relating to injury or death by falling tree branches. All I could find was the following.
From a 2012 article about tree injury & death in New York City –
- “There are roughly 2.5 million trees in the NYC’s parks & on its streets.
- The total number of tree injuries is relatively small — in the five years ending in 2011, 51 people were injured, including 2 who were killed, on New York City streets & in parks.” http://nyti.ms/KHojes
“There were 435 road transport fatalities & over 25,800 people injured in road transport incidents in NSW in 2007.” http://bit.ly/WlAyG5
Every now & then someone writes to me saying their neighbour wants to build a new fence & has asked them to remove one or more trees on their property. They are always distressed about the impending loss of the trees & often fully aware of the impact this loss will have on their property value & their health, especially if they live on a road with a reasonable amount of traffic.
Trees are one of the commonest causes of conflict between neighbours so when I saw what had been done around this gorgeous tree on private property in Livingstone Road Marrickville I was pleasantly surprised. A new front & side fence was built around the property next to the tree. The neighbour’s lovely old tree had encroached into their property over the years & was now in the way of the fence line.
There would be many who would have wanted their neighbour’s tree removed for the sake of their fence. Instead, they did some creative work to build a beautiful new fence to accommodate the beautiful old tree & it works. What they did may be simple, but this really doesn’t happen often.
The tree itself brings many benefits to both properties, including significant monetary value as these properties are worth much more with the tree than without. It was a sensible decision & one that shows great cooperation between neighbours. The community too benefits by having this beautiful tree in the streetscape, as well as the benefits of carbon sequestration & air pollution removal.
Everyone is a winner here & I wish this kind of cooperation & creative thinking were the norm. Fences do not need to be uniform to work or to look good & trees bring far more value than fences.
We know that vehicle-related pollution & particulate matter is a public health issue as these can cause respiratory & heart illnesses/diseases & increased incidences of death.
In 2010, research from 700 worldwide health-pollution studies found that traffic pollution within a 500-metre radius of a major thoroughfare was likely to –
- Exacerbate asthma in children
- Trigger new asthma cases across all ages
- Impair lung function in adults &
- Could cause cardiovascular illness & death. See – http://bit.ly/QpiYx6
We also know that street trees help improve air-quality by removing some of the vehicle-related pollution & particulate matter from the air.
Thanks to research published in June 2012 by researchers at the Lancaster Environment Centre at Lancaster University http://bit.ly/Pk4skG we now know that that this level of pollution removal is actually much higher than previously thought, making humble street tree & other street vegetation more important than ever for human health.
Previous studies thought street trees captured less than 5% of air pollution from vehicles. The small percentage may have given an out for Councils not to have street tree planting as a priority. However, this study from the Lancaster Environment Centre has shown that –
- “increasing deposition by the planting of vegetation in street canyons can reduce street-level concentrations in those canyons by as much as 40% for nitrogen dioxide & 60% for particulate matter.
- Deposition rates of nitrogen dioxide & particulate matter to vegetation are much higher than those to hard, built surfaces.
- Substantial street-level air quality improvements can be gained through action at the scale of a single street canyon or across city-sized areas of canyons.
- Vegetation will continue to offer benefits in the reduction of pollution even if the traffic source is removed from city centers.”
What wonderful research. It clearly shows that the budgetary spending by Councils needs to be much higher for planting street trees & increasing the urban forest as trees are very much a public health issue.
Adding street trees & other vegetation should be a priority along main roads, secondary main roads & along shopping strips. Verge gardens, pots filled with plants, green walls & hanging baskets are examples of vegetation that help to remove vehicle-related particulate matter.
As we know, street trees & other greenery also improves human happiness as well as increasing spending by around 11% along leafy shopping strips (by happy people). Concentrating only on diet & lifestyle issues is not the only consideration public health should be looking at. Green streets full of street trees & other vegetation where trees cannot be planted is an important & vital step to ensuring a population can remain healthy.