A tree that was the victim of an apparent chemical attack has been felled after it became “clear it would not survive”.

Environmental campaigners in Newcastle were left shocked in April 2020 when a vandal allegedly doused the tree in a toxic substance, which they believed to be glyphosate weedkiller.

The perpetrator appeared to have stepped in the chemicals themselves and left a trail of footprints away from the scene in Windsor Way, Kingston Park.

A year later, Newcastle City Council decided to chop the mature ash down and confirmed that no culprit was ever identified, despite a plea for people to come forward with information about the sad incident.

“Having monitored the tree for signs of ill-health it was clear it would not survive and so the decision was taken to remove it before it became a danger to anyone.

“However, people can rest assured that for every tree we have to remove in our city another will be replanted, in a suitable location.”

READ MORE: Outraged residents slam plans for new trees on 'treasured' land

The city council recently announced that more than 31,000 new trees were planted in Newcastle in 2019/20.

That means that, if all those trees were to grow to maturity, the council would have rapidly exceeded a target of having an extra 19,000 trees by 2050 – an aim that was labelled “embarrassingly unambitious” in 2019.

Of the new trees, 30,000 were planted on the Newcastle Great Park housing site by developers, with a further 1,873 were planted from the council and 93 by Urban Green Newcastle elsewhere in the city.

In January 2020, the city’s Liberal Democrat opposition called for 290,000 trees to be planted, one for every person in Newcastle.

That suggestion was labelled unrealistic by city Labour councillors, who instead committed to planting a whip for every newborn child – around 6,000 per year.

This story originally appeared in the Northern Echo.

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