Taking care of green and leafy Chiswick

Tree maintenance in Chiswick to be reassessed as budget for existing arrangements likely to be inadequate

One of Chiswick's main attributes is its green leafy avenues, which are home to over 3,000 trees. Here we have the largest population of mature trees in the borough consisting of London Planes, Limes and Maples.

These trees are not only aesthetically pleasing, they do a fabulous job of filtering and absorbing pollutants including carbon monoxide and even noise. According to LBH, the presence of trees can increase the value of residential and commercial property by 7-15%.

Responsibility for these trees lies with ‘Street Management' with their management undertaken by CIP. Their goal is to visit every street in the borough on a 3-4 year cycle, however this aim is believed to be currently unachievable due to budget constraints. This results in a significant amount of ad-hoc work being undertaken for health and safety reasons and to alleviate any potential insurance claims from residents.

Residents of Silver Crescent and Thorney Hedge Road were recently treated to a tree ‘make-over' so severe were their problems, but the work was hampered by ‘inconsiderate' commuters parking in the road.

In addition to regular tree maintenance, CIP and the Community Environment Team are presently searching for a solution to eliminate ‘honeydew'. Honeydew is the excreta of aphids who feed on the sap of the lime trees. Anyone who has parked beneath one of these trees will know exactly how sticky and unsightly this is. Even so it is not poisonous or significantly damaging to paintwork. A proposed trial of industry developed ‘anti-aphid' injections has been suggested, focusing on two of Chiswick's roads.

At the forthcoming Chiswick Area Committee meeting on 30th April three options will be put forward for viable future maintenance plans. These maintenance plans are necessary for risk limitation, claims resulting from dangerous branches or dangerous trees can be greatly reduced.

  • Option 1 – a stand-still budget with annual inflation increase, continue as now and attempt to fund ad-hoc funds where possible.
  • Option 2 – CIP have produced estimates for a rolling programme of interim works that would involve less intensive, cheaper pruning until the main works could be carried out.
  • Option 3 – The most expensive but by far the most effective option would be to fund a Rapid Response Team run by a qualified and experienced Senior Arborist.

CIP are currently in the process of upgrading their database system that manages tree stock and grounds maintenance across the whole of the borough. This same system will also be used to manage the street trees with the aim to improve communication and therefore service.

April 24, 2003

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