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Trees in Greenwich Park

Trees in Greenwich Park – 22 October 2011 – Tree 660 – a mature Fraxinus Excelsior “Diversifolia” a cultivar of the European Ash

In 2010, LOCOG said that they would have to “prune” only 72 trees. In 2011, LOCOG said they must “prune” a further 219 trees “for access”.

The Labour councillors on the benighted Planning Board gave them permission to do so; so, instead of “prune back low peripheral limbs by 1.5m on southern aspect” (February 2010 tree schedule, and 1.5m is less than shoulder-height on a man), LOCOG has cut 13 limbs altogether (8 of them large) off this mature Fraxinus Excelsior “Diversifolia”.

At the top of this page, you can see what LOCOG means by “prune”. Click on the image to see a larger version.

This type of tree can live for 250 years but, thanks to LOCOG, this one is unlikely to do so.

All for the same of ONE DAY’s cross-country event.

9 March 2010 – TREES THREATENED – WE NEED YOUR HELP – LOCOG asserted that they wouldn’t cut down any trees and would return the Park to pre-Games condition.

The latter assurance is looking increasingly unlikely in relation to the trees. Although LOCOG omitted to include a tree survey in their planning application to Greenwich Council,

one NOGOE member obtained a full tree schedule under FOI from Royal Parks, and only after that was LOCOG’s tree survey, commissioned during 2009, made available.

Download the Greenwich Park Tree Schedule (300kb, .pdf): you can use it to identify the trees plotted on the maps of the Park (see below).

Subsequently Greenwich Council has supplied maps of the northern (13mb, .pdf) and southern (12mb, .pdf) parts of the Park showing the location of every tree in the Park,

with the cross-country course superimposed. Click on the link to see these maps.

To begin with we looked at just a handful of trees located on or alongside the proposed route of the cross-country course;

we started with just a handful of 8, and already we find that three of them are ancient or veterans.

No way can LOCOG be allowed to “prune” a veteran tree, because it won’t recover.

In fact, no tree should ever be pruned needlessly; the BS3998 Recommendations for Tree Work (Annex E) (draft revised document 2008) states:

“All pruning is a form of damage, which removes foliage and locally disrupts columns of liquid and the network of living cells, so that zones of sapwood become physiologically dysfunctional …

Pruning should be undertaken only with good reason and on the basis of an informed decision taking all its likely consequences into account; other options could include moving the target because pruning inevitably affects the well being of any tree”

The Woodland Trust is currently casting its eye over this data, and we’ll report on its conclusions.

It’s a mammoth task to analyse every tree, so we invite you, the reader, to pick out a tree that concerns you and then tell us the number and identity of the tree. Ask your children to help. Thank you.

NOGOE Comment: There are more than 70 trees that LOCOG has itself identified as subject to pruning, including an unidentified number to have branches removed to the stem,

which is definitely not a good thing for the tree when not done for its own benefit.

Furthermore, if the course were to be built, it would pass over the root protections areas (the red circles – RPA) of a large number of trees,

others would be vulnerable to damage from contractor traffic during construction and deconstruction while the 75,000 spectators on the day of the event could trample over many more.

LOCOG says that where the course must pass over the RPA of a high value tree then appropriate protection of the RPA would be required.

Such protection measures would minimise the impact of the passage of horses during the event whilst also meeting (allegedly) the performance criteria of the Equestrian Event.

How confident can we be that the interest of the tree will be given priority over the condition of the course?

And note that no protection is offered to lower grade trees, notwithstanding that some of them will be the top grade of the future.

Sally Elliott

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