“It costs £400 for the council to replace a tree in Southport” – Sefton Council

30th July 2016

“It costs £400 for the council to replace a tree in Southport” – Sefton Council

It appears that the high figure set by Sefton Council of £400 to replace a tree in Southport is likely to lead to a number of trees due to be felled next month not being replaced. If this principle is set and maintained throughout the town – then the number of trees in Southport will decline for us all.

Letter to the editor 

Tree removal notices have been placed on trees down Curzon, Rutland and Falkland Road. I accept that trees do need to be removed when they are old or in decline. And the council appears to have the budget to remove these sizeable trees.

However, Sefton Council are not providing sufficient money to replace the trees they are going to take down. Local Councillors do have a limited budget for their areas, some of which will only replace a handful of the trees due to be removed. I am convinced this is largely due to the high cost the council sets for replacing each tree – just when budgets are at their tightest.

Recognising the shortfall, we have been approached as residents by Councillors to ask if we would be willing to contribute to the replacement trees, to ensure they are all replaced. In the spirit of partnership with other residents and the council, I am happy to do so to ensure the look and feel of these roads is maintained.

However, a Councillor has confirmed that the council is charging (and therefore I presume is itself being charged) an eye-watering £400 to provide and plant each replacement tree.

So how far will my contribution really go?

  1. When council budgets are so tight, how happy are we that they are shopping around for the best offer?
  2. 2. In the spirit of sustainability, shouldn’t our tree budgets be managed so that for every £1 spent on felling, there should be matched funding allocated for new trees?
  3. As the cost is £400 per tree, for 5 replacement trees down one road, they require £2000. Is that really value for money?
  4. By putting the cost so high, they are increasing the likelihood of the trees not being replaced. Replacing the trees should be the objective – not setting such a high figure to have the trees replaced.

Our combined focus as residents working with the council should be: ‘What can we possibly do to ensure the trees are replaced?’ The starting point should be to look again and seek alternatives to the proposed £400 cost of replacement.

tree removalAs a resident of one of the roads, I have offered to contribute to the budget, but feel our money (by direct contributions and indirect council tax) could easily go further if the cost was more reasonable and realistic.

In summary

  1.  Does £400 / tree represent best-value for the council and residents?
  2.  What is the council doing to find best-value?
  3.  I am happy to contribute, but at £400 a tree, how far will our money go to replacing a tree?
  4.  If I were to do this privately, I am sure we could at least halve the cost. So why can’t the council with their buying power?

This is a real opportunity for Southport residents and the council to work together to improve the town’s appearance and environment. But the high cost of £400 a tree is presenting an unnecessary and unreasonable obstacle. Let’s get creative, have a serious look at the alternatives and work together so that between us we can find the solution.


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