Trees can be a boon - or a bane
This week on the Politics Show we're looking at why trees get cut down. We've been asking for your experiences and we've had a huge response - from people who are desperate to save their trees from the chop, and people who have nuisance trees they want dealt with.
If you haven't already, please use the form at the bottom to let us know if you have a tree story of your own.
Here's a selection of the responses - and a photo gallery...
I find it hypocritical that the government is constantly telling us how we should live our lives to prevent global warming and yet at the same time they are cutting down urban trees at an unprecedented rate.
My garden is surrounded by trees and yes it takes a lot of time in the autumn and winter to clear the mess up but the colours are fantastic and the wildlife they support in the spring summer is delightful to watch.......not to mention the noise buffer they provide from the dual carriageway they've built through the countryside!
No one on your programme mentioned that trees actually help to nourish our planet; cleaning the air, apart from their aesthetic value. The answer to the root problem and its effect on adjacent buildings is root pruning; i.e. digging a trench around the tree in a ring and cutting the roots back. Leaving the trench there may not be possible without fencing but in some places it works.
Pat Thomas, London
When I lived in East Ham, now Newham, east London, the plane trees were pollarded every year to stop them growing too large. The councils could replace them with smaller trees, but either option would cost money which would have to come out of the CCTV budget I suppose.
Bee Edwards, UK
I am very keen to protect trees and am campaigning to protect our open spaces but trees are like dogs- we love them but if a dog attacks or threatens a child it should be put down. Similarly trees should be felled if they threaten the health ,safety and property of people who live close by.
Ron Page, Wales.
As a tree professional I come into contact on a daily basis with many of the opinions expressed here. Many people want to retain trees at all cost, while others cannot see the inherent beauty of trees in the neighbourhood, only the 'nuisance' they cause. It is not easy to maintain a balance and please everyone.
I would say that one of my main frustrations is that many people fail to understand that trees, like humans, have a finite life cycle - they eventually die too! But because the tree life cycle is over a longer timescale than our own, it is often assumed that a tree will 'go on forever' - not true.
Any tree owner, including local authorities, have a responsibility to ensure that trees in their ownership remain safe. Unfortunately, this means that sometimes trees that appear healthy may need to be felled - root decay and decay of the main stem can often occur without any visual symptoms (to the untrained eye anyway). I think it is essential that tree professionals spend more time explaining why we do what we do - as is apparent from many of the comments here, this doesn't seem to happen frequently enough.
Pete Hughes, Peterborough
I live in Tottenham (London) near the Broadwater Farm estate and am currently battling with Haringey council to stop cutting down the trees on our street. They have already cut down 3 big trees and have plans to cut down another one, so I have about 60 signatures from residents on the street to try to stop them from doing this, but I don't know if it will make a difference.
I love the trees on my street: they help with air pollution, provide habitat for wildlife, buffer the noise and increase the value of our homes. The council wants to cut down a big tree because they don't want to maintain the sidewalk properly and they are afraid of being sued, so it's very short term thinking and what they are doing is throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
Kim Donahue, London
Update from Kim... We met tonight with the person in charge of trees in Haringey and he has agreed to save our tree and gave assurances that there are no plans to cut down any more trees on our street this year. All in all, we lost 3 big trees, saved one and have been told that they will plant 5 new ones next year. So it is a small victory for our street, but the larger battle in London is by no means won. Kim Donahue, London
We live in a council house which has a very long garden and a very large sycamore tree only about five yards from the house. The council have refused to take it down but it causes us a lot of trouble. It sheds about four or five times a year and when the helicopter seed fall they root- and if you don't get them all out, we have more trees growing!
The leaves alone fill three bins. As we are retired we are finding it harder every year. These trees are for woods and forests, not for back gardens. Can anyone do anything about them?
Anne Graham, West Yorkshire
We have tried for the past three years to get street trees planted (and have largely failed) though we think we may be about to get permission to plant a tree on a bare tarmac roundabout. When we started, the council didn't have a process for planting a street tree in a new location. The process that is being developed to plant street trees will allow them in theory but makes it virtually impossible in practice.
In the last year, Bristol council spent all its money pruning and removing street trees and so did not have any money for replacements. We are seeing majestic lime and London planes removed and when they have been replaced it is with gardenesque flowering cherries, rowans and the odd birch tree.
Vassili Papastavrou, Bristol
I have an ongoing problem with trees on a disused railway line which overhang my property. The land belongs to the council but despite frequent requests no action is taken. I am inundated with seeds which destroy my plants and require constant weeding. It is also costly.
Jean McClean, Scotland
In my road in Luton just last week the trees that line our road were pruned back to nothing by the council. The leaves had only just opened over Easter and looked lovely. I moved into the road last autumn and had looked forward to the greenery along side the red brick houses.
I complained to the fellers and then phoned the council as well. I have felt traumatised ever since. Surely pruning would be best after the autumn and even then not so severely. Aren't they good for the environment anyway, and the councils are making us feel like criminals if we don't understand how to recycle correctly. What hypocrites.
Lin McDonald, Luton
I am very distressed as only yesterday a mature, healthy, beautiful tree was felled despite mine and a few of my neighbours desperate attempts to stop it. The local council and police were involved and despite our pleas, they refused to wait till Monday to allow us to voice our objections through the proper channels.
I am desperately seeking help to make people aware of what is happening and do as much as I can to stop these practices as I believe they are unacceptable in view of what the politicians are preaching and what the councils are doing.
Margaret Bukaty, London
We have been writing to the council about trees they admit to owning since December 1999. They refuse to prune them. A letter informing them that one tree was diseased and could fall at any time by Wessex tree surgeons was disregarded. No one is concerned that the lack of daylight to see, sky, sun, or moon, is important.
Maureen Hodgkins, Christchurch
I saw your piece about trees in danger. Nowhere is this more true than Milton Keynes where an organisation called
(which I chair) has been battling to protect them, amongst other causes to do with the destruction of the 'vision' of Milton Keynes. So far over 1,000 have been felled in central Milton Keynes with thousands more in danger.
Theo Chalmers, Milton Keynes
On the roadside verge where I live, there is an extremely large specimen of the Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus Altissima). This tree had a write up in several national newspapers last October, saying it was extremely invasive, could damage pavements and foundations, and is threatening to run riot across Britain.
Apart from this, every summer it produces quantities of foul smelling foliage (reminiscent of cats). This tree is only a few yards away from my and my neighbours' properties, and we have had ongoing negotiations with the council to remove it.
The Landscape Officer (Arboriculture) and the Tree Inspector examined the tree in December, and they wrote to us in January saying they had decided that the tree was invasive, unplanned, and unsuitable for the area. They would therefore be applying to the Planning Authority to have the tree removed. Since then we have heard nothing, it has got several feet taller, and is now coming into foul smelling leaf again.
Joy Revell, Devon
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