Trees are a fundamental part of both our urban and rural environment and provide many environmental benefits such as:
- Tree canopies absorb pollutants to help provide cleaner air
- Trees absorb carbon dioxide and reduce urban heat levels, reducing the effect of localised climate change
- Tree roots can help prevent soil erosion and run-off and soak up excess rainwater, which decreases the risk of flooding
- Trees provide an ideal habitat for thousands of species of flora and fauna
- There is proven benefit of trees on our health and mental wellbeing.
Trees play a vital role in the enhancement of our borough and we have a duty to both protect our mature trees, which form such an important part of our heritage, as well as provide appropriate space and conditions for saplings to thrive.
The Council’s Tree Strategy was launched in November 2018 and highlights the importance of having a healthy and diverse spread of trees within the borough and their consideration as part of the design of any future development.
The Council is responsible for the management and protection of over 700 Tree Preservation Orders and 32 conservation areas within the borough and is involved with a number of schemes to encourage and promote tree diversity.
- To mark National Tree Week 2019, five trees were planted at Byfleet Primary School as part of Surrey County Council’s initiative to plant 1.2 million trees in the county by 2030.
- The Council is also continuing its own tree planting programmes with over 300 planted in the last year alone.
In February 2020, Woking Borough Council and The Tree Clinic Surrey, undertook veteranisation of some of the woodland trees at the rear of the Leisure Centre at Woking Park.
The majority of the tree population in this area is 50 to 60 years old, with just a small number of very mature specimens that are approximately 100 to 200 years old. As these older specimens go into decline or are lost, in time this area would have a shortfall in the habitat needed to sustain a number of important insects, fungi and wildlife only associated with this type of ageing habitat.
Veteranisation is the creation of features in younger trees that naturally occur in more mature specimens over a period of time. Techniques include the tearing of branches, creating coronation cuts which splinter ends, boring into trees to create cavities for birds and bats, and stripping bark off and damaging wood fibres so fungal spores can access the heartwood and create standing dead stumps.
Veteranisation is not a quick fix solution but the work done now will start to pay dividends in many years to come and will prove vital to maintaining the diversity of this small woodland.
Watch a video of the work undertaken at the site here.