A 'visionary' strategy for managing Wirral's trees and woodland has been launched.

Wirral Council, together with groups, including the Tree Council and local organisations, worked together under the banner of 'Wirral Initiative on Trees' to contribute to and give their endorsement for the final Tree Strategy.

Nationally, it has been cited by Friends of the Earth and Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs as 'visionary' and an exempler for other authorities to follow.

Included in the strategy is recognition that while not all trees in the borough are council responsibility, the same checks and protections should extend to trees on private land.

To that end, the Council-wide enforcement policy has been reviewed with a commitment to investigating all allegations of offences relating to trees and ensure appropriate action is taken whenever necessary.

Cllr Liz Grey, Wirral cabinet member for environment, said: "I am delighted to launch this detailed, wide-reaching strategy - the first time Wirral has had such a comprehensive plan.

"Exactly one year on from declaring a climate emergency in Wirral, our commitment to planting is a big part of what we're doing as a council in response.

"But the strategy is about much more than just planting trees. It's about investing in expertise, planting the right trees, in the right place; bringing in staff who will help us to monitor and inspect all our trees and advise on the best course of action, should a risk be identified."

Danny Gross, a trees campaigner for Friends of the Earth, said: "We strongly support the ambition to double tree cover through tree planting and natural regeneration, alongside practical initiatives to protect existing trees."

In a statement, The Tree Council said: "We are delighted to have been part of the development of the Wirral Tree Strategy.

"It sets a model for the development of other tree strategies and will be a valuable contribution to thinking about national tree policies.

"We look forward to working with all the partners in the future as the strategy is used to create a tree rich environment for the people and wildlife of the Wirral."

A Wirral Wildlife spokesperson added: "We welcome the Wirral Tree Strategy and support its aims and objectives.

"We expect that it will lead to better management and retention of our existing trees, and guide sensible future tree planting and natural regeneration."

A Wirral Tree Wardens statement read: "Trees, hedgerows and woodlands are vital elements in Wirral's landscape, but it's so easy to take them for granted, ignoring the threats, challenges, gaps and opportunities.

"Tree wardens want more people to enjoy, know and care about trees, to find an active way to be stewards of trees for the future and contribute to the protection of environment, wildlife and well-being.

"We thank our partners in WiT for helping this to happen, the borough of Wirral for putting ideas into action and friends at the Tree Council, Forest Research & DEFRA for advising, identifying and sharing good practice in Wirral's Strategy to National policies."

The Friends of Wirral Parks Forum said: "We welcome the Wirral Tree, Hedgerow and Woodland Strategy.

"We are pleased that the Strategy provides opportunities for volunteers and local communities to focus on specific aspects of Wirral's environment.

"Parks and green spaces have an important role in keeping Wirral 'green' and are often the sites of unusual or rare trees.

"Friends groups can work with the strategy to ensure that Wirral's parks and green spaces continue to protect and plant trees, hedges and woodlands, that can survive and flourish in a challenging future climate."

This story first appeared in the Wirral Globe.

Forestry Journal remains dedicated to bringing you all the latest news and views from across our industry, plus up-to-date information on the impacts of COVID-19.

Please support us by subscribing to our print edition, delivered direct to your door, from as little at £69 for 1 year – or consider a digital subscription from just £1 for 3 months.

To arrange, follow this link: https://www.forestryjournal.co.uk/subscribe/

Thanks – and stay safe.