The Friends of St Ann's Green Spaces were shocked to discover that Catalyst's current planning application will result in loss of 50% of the existing trees on the site.
They have asked me to bring to the attention of Harringay Online users this alarming loss of trees from the St Ann's site that has emerged from the publication of the The Arboricultural Impact Assessment Survey as part of the current consultation.
They have also asked that concerned people respond to the consultation by 22nd September 2022 and reject these plans.
The Arboricultural Impact Assessment Survey (available in full here) lists a far higher than expected rate of tree loss in the course of the build.
Out of a total of 226 individual trees, 32 groups of trees and 7 hedges “within influencing distance of the application site”, the survey confirms removal of 71 trees, 15 tree groups and 96.5m of hedgerow.
In addition “the anticipated effects would include the removal of a further 0.4143ha of canopy cover equating to 43 individual trees and 15 groups or parts of groups as well as 164m of hedgerow.”
Both Friends of the Earth and the Haringey Parks Forum have registered their alarm at the loss of trees and canopy cover at a time when it is clear that we need as much green space as possible in London to combat climate change. The site is known for its rare and special trees, some of which grow nowhere else in London, and its SINC (site of importance for nature conservation) that runs along the back of the site along the railway line and also forms an important link with Railway Fields as a wildlife corridor and habitat.
Noted tree expert and ecologist, Russell Miller, made the following comments after seeing the Arboricultural Impact Assessment Survey:
- the scale of tree and canopy loss is extraordinarily high
- given the climate emergency and record London temperatures in 2022 loss of canopy of this magnitude should lead to an automatic rejection of the design. People in London are dying from excessive heat and air pollution. A project that predicts an overall loss of canopy even after new planting should be unacceptable. All planning guidance in London is for increasing canopy cover.
- the failure to correctly identify and quantify the loss of SINC woodland is a major flaw in the AIA. The SINC woodland abuts a key railway wildlife corridor and its value is therefore even greater than the canopy cover and group of trees alone. The final AIA Appendix plan refers to SINC gain and SINC retention but not SINC loss.
- the trees at St. Ann's are much more diverse and unusual than typical urban planting. Whilst the AIA acknowledges this it nevertheless proposes tree losses on a huge scale.
- The planned green roofs are a major element of post development habitat. The roofs are said to be largely 'intensive' but terminology in this area is new and undefined leaving too much scope for poor delivery. Greater clarity is required as to minimum substrate depth, substrate type, maintenance provisions and biodiversity value of these roofs. This is essential if anything of wildlife value is to be gained from these buildings."
Haringey Council seems a little rattled... This just hit my inbox!
Strong measures are already being put in place to protect mature trees from future developments and enhance the green skyline in Haringey.
As part of the Council’s new Local Plan, it is developing a much more robust approach to protecting existing trees. Among other measures, the plan will include a dedicated trees policy with a clear expectation of developers to retain and protect mature and veteran trees rather than fell or damage them.
Residents across the borough will have an opportunity to feed into this plan in the new year when it goes out for consultation.
The council also plans to beef up its policies to maximise the number of native trees planted as part of construction projects, with all new streets tree lined.
To ensure that the dedicated trees policy is as effective as possible the council will develop bespoke supporting guidance including further detail on how the policy should be interpreted and implemented.
As well as these enhancements, the Cabinet agreed a draft trees and woodland plan earlier this month which sets out how the council will manage trees, including those forming part of an insurance claim.
The Trees and Conservation team has been boosted to implement this plan and an accelerated tree maintenance programme for mature trees.
An additional council tree officer is already overseeing planning matters, including the inspection of developments where veteran trees exist – ensuring work carried out by the council is completed to the highest standard.
Cllr Dana Carlin, Cabinet Member for Housing Services, Private Renters and Planning, said: “Protecting and preserving trees across the borough is a key priority for the council and we are determined to do everything we can to ensure this happens.
“In line with our manifesto commitment to be a fairer, greener borough and support the council’s commitment to tree planting, our planning team have and will continue to put measures in place to ensure trees are fully considered as part of the planning process. Our new Local Plan will set out a much stronger approach to protecting existing trees and our planning team will be looking to discuss designs and potential builds with all developers to ensure construction is around existing trees and not on them.
“Whilst there will be things we cannot enforce as a local authority; we will do everything in our power to work alongside our partners and make them aware of our expectations and vision of the borough.”
Cllr Mike Hakata, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Climate Action, Environment and Transport, said: “With each passing year the climate and biodiversity emergencies become increasingly urgent. We are determined to take huge steps to reduce carbon with an ambitious and transformational programme which will make our borough one of the greenest in the capital. This includes not only planting thousands of new trees, but also re-writing our planning documents so that careful consideration is given to incorporating existing trees into the design and layout of any new development and protecting them during construction. It will set the standard when it comes to planning and housing developments.”
The council has set out targets to increase tree canopy cover to 30 per cent in all wards and plant at least 10,000 trees by 2030 to kick start this process.
Plans are well advanced to plant 2,000 new semi-mature trees this year alone as part of council efforts to tackle the climate emergency and become a net zero borough.
Alongside its work to increase canopy cover, the council will soon start creating a network of wildflower meadows as part of its biodiversity drive.