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Basingstoke council to pay for tree maintenance
6:00am Wednesday 30th October 2013 in News
THE borough council has announced that it will spend £500,000 of taxpayers’ cash to maintain Basingstoke’s trees.
Councillor Robert Donnell, borough cabinet member for the environment, has announced that £470,000 will be spent across the next five years to sort trees that potentially pose a risk to residents and to homes.
Old trees with overhanging crowns, or roots that burrow under buildings can damage properties.
The cash is in addition to the £250,000 Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has already spent on managing its tree stock.
“I believe that our trees are one of the things that make Basingstoke such a wonderful place to live,” said Cllr Donnell.
“I’m very proud of just how green our borough is, and the council absolutely has a responsibility to protect our trees as a part of that.
“We already spend over £250,000-a-year maintaining our trees but we need to do more to conserve our trees for the future.”
He added: “It is a real issue and that’s why we’re fixing it.”
The announcement at the latest full council meeting came in response to a motion tabled by Chineham Independent councillor Martin Biermann.
Cllr Biermann’s motion, which was seconded by Labour Popley East councillor Jane Frankum, called for the borough to focus on trees that have suffered from a “regrettably low level of maintenance”.
He said that many trees in council ownership “are too close to houses” or “unsuitable”, and called for cash to be released to tackle the problem.
Cllr Biermann welcomed Cllr Donnell’s announcement and urged swift action.
He said: “This is a timebomb. At the end of the day, the costs are going to be massive. If we leave it too long, the problem is only going to be bigger.”
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