Issue - meetings

Issue - meetings

Review of Tree Management Policy

Meeting: 13/10/2016 - City Executive Board (became Cabinet on 13 May 2019) (Item 77)

77 Review of Tree Management Policy pdf icon PDF 100 KB

Additional documents:


Cllr Gant, Chair of the Scrutiny Committee presented the report and noted the Board’s agreement to the recommendations.


Education Attainment

Cllr Gant said that the Scrutiny Committee had also reviewed the education attainment report and supported the actions in the report and would support a budgetary bid for further education work.

Meeting: 13/10/2016 - City Executive Board (became Cabinet on 13 May 2019) (Item 79)

79 Tree Management Policy pdf icon PDF 91 KB

The Head of Direct Services has submitted a report which details an updated Tree Management Policy.


Recommendation: That the City Executive Board resolves to:

1.         Approve the draft Tree Management Policy

Additional documents:


The Head of Direct Services submitted a report which detailed an updated Tree Management Policy.


Cllr Smith, Board member for Leisure, Sport and Parks presented the report. She explained the main changes to the policy were writing it in a friendlier manner, and outlining people’s common law rights and the arbitration review process. She thanked the Park and Open Spaces Manager and the Tree team for all the work they had done.


The Chair thanked Cllr Smith for the work she had done.


Cllr Hollingsworth spoke on the Scrutiny Committee’s recommendation on planting fruit trees in parks and the concern about wasps. Cllr Smith said that fruit trees would be planted away from footpaths and roads so they wouldn’t be a hazard. Notices in parks would state that people could pick the fruit.


Cllr Hollingsworth said that the list of trees should say which trees should be pollarded and why eg for safety and environmental reasons.


Cllr Tanner asked if the total number of trees in the city had grown significantly.  The Park and Open Spaces Manager said he was fairly certain the number of city owned trees had stayed the same over last 10 years. Cllr Tanner asked if the Planning officers could provide the number of trees in the city to CEB members.


Cllr Simmons said that every tree would be replaced in the policy. The amount of CO2 absorbed by the different tree species could also be recorded on the tree list.


Recommendation: That the City Executive Board resolves to:

1.         Approve the draft Tree Management Policy


Meeting: 06/10/2016 - Scrutiny Committee (Item 48)

48 Review of Tree Management Policy pdf icon PDF 92 KB


Background Information

The Scrutiny Committee has asked for this item to be included on the agenda for pre-decision scrutiny.  The Committee previously provided feedback on the Tree Management Policy in April 2016.

Why is it on the agenda?

The City Executive Board will be asked to approve the updated Tree Management Policy at its meeting on 13 October 2016.  This is an opportunity for the Scrutiny Committee to make recommendations to the City Executive Board.

Who has been invited to comment?

·         Councillor Linda Smith, Board Member for Leisure, Parks & Sport,

·         Stuart Fitzsimmons, Parks and Open Spaces Manager.




Additional documents:


Cllr Linda Smith, Board Member for Leisure Parks and Sports presented the report and outlined the draft policy

She said that the policy had been written with a friendlier tone and focused on what the Council would do rather than what it would not do. The draft policy contains a more extensive arbitration and review section to assist customers who are unhappy with decisions. Officers reminded the Committee that the policy only extends to the management and maintenance of Council owned trees.


The Committee discussed the following:


The issue of trees blocking light and what the tree team would do in these cases. The Parks and Open Spaces Manager explained that there is no legal right to light but there is an obligation to keep the lamp posts clear.  The Tree team considers each case on an individual basis.


Officers explained that the cost of maintaining the 100,000+ Council trees in the city put considerable budgetary pressures on the service. The tree team trades externally to subsidise these costs.


The Committee favoured the idea of fruit trees being planted in Council parks and asked for fruiting trees to be included in the tree planting list as an option for parks and for the policy to say that people can help themselves to the fruit off these trees.


The Committee agreed with the creation of a Customer Advice Guide and suggested a number of issues to be included (listed in recommendation 3)


That the Tree Planting Guide provide more information on the common trees listed and how they meet the requirements of the policy.  That the planting guide list which trees could be pollarded; and for more information on which species are pollinators (specifically bee pollinators).  The Committee also requested that a new section on trees that could be planted in parks (most notably fruit trees) be added.


The Committee raised concerns with the narrow focus of the policy in that it did not mention enough about the role of planning or the highways authority in tree management.  Many tree issues faced by members of the public are the responsibility of other authorities and are not covered by this policy.  To improve public understanding, it was requested that officers include a section at the front of the policy which highlighted what the policy covers and where people can find additional information on trees from the planning and highways authority.


The Committee noted a number of minor amendments to the report which the Board Member and Officers agreed to correct (listed in reccommendation1)


The Scrutiny Committee agreed the following recommendation to CEB


1: That the following amendments are made to the Policy:

a)    The phrase ‘perceived to be causing medical issues’ in the bullet points at the top of page 5 of the Policy is replaced with ‘undocumented medical conditions’.

b)    Explanation is added that challenges under the arbitration and review process will be assessed against the Policy.

c)    The statement that ‘every tree felled should be replaced’ on page 8 of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 48

Meeting: 05/04/2016 - Scrutiny Committee (Item 115)

115 Review of Oxford City Council's Tree Management Policy pdf icon PDF 215 KB


Background Information


The Scrutiny Committee requested an item on the Tree Management Policy, which was adopted in 2008 and last reviewed in 2011.  The Tree Policy was also the subject of discussions at the Parish Forum in March 2016.


Why is it on the agenda?


For the Scrutiny Committee to consider the current Tree Management Policy and provide comment and suggestions to inform a possible refresh of this Policy.


Who has been invited to comment?


Councillor Mark Lygo, Board Member for Leisure, Sport and Events;

Stuart Fitzsimmons, Parks and Open Spaces Manager.





The Head of Direct Services and the Parks & Open Spaces Manager presented the report and explained that the Council was undertaking a light touch review of the current Tree Management Plan which had been written in 2008, and updated in 2011.  They said that the review was an opportunity for the Council to introduce new examples of best practice. 


In discussion the Committee considered the importance of providing timely responses to enquiries from Ward Councillors and the public; the problems caused by known “nuisance trees”, fruit bearing trees and older, larger trees; the need for a more positive tone and constructive information in the revised Tree Management Plan. 


Officers welcomed the suggestions made by the Committee and said that they would take these into account in the revised document.  They said that they would also include proposals for an arbitration process involving residents, ward councillors and officers to resolve “nuisance tree” cases. 


In conclusion the Committee proposed that the Tree Management Plan should be revised to:

·                present a more positive and constructive tone to address the views and concerns of local residents and ward councillors

·                encourage the use of native tree species for planting

·                where possible plant more than one tree to replace any felled trees

·                provide more detail on the Council’s approach to dealing with and replacing damaged trees (for example, what do we do about stump grinding)

·                information on what options are available to for dealing with “nuisance” trees (alternatives to pruning or felling)

·                include details of the proposed arbitration meetings with officers, ward councillors and residents

·                that officers should send the revised Tree Policy and details of the agreed response times for public enquiries to the local MPs


The Committee NOTED the report and thanked officers for their contribution to the discussion.  The Committee confirmed that it would wish to pre-scrutinise the revised Tree Management Plan at a future meeting.