This morning I met up with one of the borough's two tree officers for a walkabout around Abbotswell Road, Henryson Road, Elsiemaud Road and around there to look at where trees have been removed and whether they can be replanted. I went clutching my list of missing street trees, as collated during my leafletting a couple of weeks back.
Hopefully we should be getting some more trees in Abbotswell, Francemary and other streets that have had trees removed, but in most cases not until next year now. A few trees are being planted this year, including 4 very soon in Arthurdon Road, but there is likely to be more planting next year, once the survey is complete. Unfortunately we also discovered a tree on Henryson Road that needs to be removed fairly promptly as it could be in danger of falling (outside 28 Henryson Road).
The borough's arboricultural team have a new mapping system and over the past year, alongside their regular maintenence work, they have been surveying and mapping all the trees in the borough. There are all being prioritised 1,2 or 3 in terms of how urgently they need attention. They are also mapping missing street trees, potential sites for new trees and scanning for under-pavement wiring which influences where trees can be planted. It seems that most of the borough besides Ladywell has now been mapped and they hope to finish the process (including Ladywell) by the end of the year. They are dealing with the priority one trees first (in danger of falling etc), then will start to replant some of those that are missing, alongside doing regular maintenence on the existing trees.
They plan to move towards contractors removing, stump grinding and replanting trees all at once, rather than just removing the tree and possibly, maybe, coming back to replace it at some indefinite point in the future. They are also looking at planting a wider variety of species than the ubiquitous ornamental cherry trees. As well as being everywhere, not having a particularly high value in terms of biodiversity and having a relatively short lifespan, their roots also play havoc with pavements (as anyone who has ever walked along Chudleigh Road could verify).
I also asked about whether Lewisham would be getting any street trees from the Mayor of London's much hyped scheme, and it is likely that we will, but the borough doesn't get to choose where, although it is looking likely that they will be in the northern part of the borough (Deptford/New Cross).