The Assistant Director, Communities and Street Scene:
a. presented a report to make Planning Committee aware of the general programme of biodiversity enhancing works proposed for Boultham Park lake and its surrounds and to seek permission for the proposed programme of tree works
b. reported that in 2013 the City Council, working in Partnership with Linkage Community Trust, was successful in obtaining a grant from the National Lottery for both the restoration of key infrastructure and the building of important new features in Boultham Park
c. advised that as the bid developed, funding for the restoration of the lake had not proved affordable, however the exploratory work undertaken initially had left the council in a good place to make another National Lottery bid for a targeted scheme based on biodiversity improvements for the lake and its surrounds, allowing the overall park scheme to be completed as a continuation of the original scheme
d. described the background to the proposed scheme for the lake in terms of environment and biodiversity, engaging the support of Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust as a member of the project board
e. reported that based on scientific analysis, the expert hydrologist had suggested the solution to the existing sediment problem, also being used in the Serpentine Lake, Hyde Park, was for careful and well-designed aeration of the water to slowly increase the activity of bacteria in the lake and breakdown the sediment, such that it became so soluble it would be washed away in the course of the natural movement of the water
f. highlighted that the lake edge trees were also a key contributor to the problem, and that some action was required to remove a level of this tree cover
g. reported that a survey and assessment of all the trees had suggested a need for tree removal of those based around the lake and near boundaries only, based on four criteria as detailed at paragraph 3.16 of his report
h. referred to the plan attached to his report showing tree locations and those proposed for removal
i. circulated illustrations of trees meeting the criteria for removal for clarification of members
j. reported the council’s policy of replanting for any tree removed on a one-for-one basis which would be actioned as quickly as possible as a part of the overall biodiversity improvement plan for the park, subject to National Lottery Heritage funding (NLHF)
k. requested members approval subject to a successful National Lottery bid being secured:
· for the removal of 37 trees as listed, and
· to give delegated authority to the Portfolio Holder for Remarkable Place for the removal of up to nine further trees, should a tree require removal where it had been hoped it could be retained, in the interests of the park and project
Tammy Smalley, representing Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, addressed Planning Committee in support of the planning application, covering the following main points:
· She held the position of Head of Conservation at Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust.
· She was born and bred in the city.
· In 2014 the UK was graded189th worst country for biodiversity.
· The 2019 State of Nature report by the National Trust declared 41% of wildlife species in mass decline since 1970 and 14% on the verge of extinction in the U.K.
· We are mammals. 25% of mammals were in decline due to the actions of mankind.
· LWT was happy to offer its expertise to the City of Lincoln Council as it felt the council was doing the right thing to deliver nature recovery in the city.
· LWT would offer its time/expertise alongside organisations such as the Environment Agency and Natural England.
· The Steering Group had examined all the plans for the park.
· The biodiversity and wildlife of Boultham Park would be improved by the felling of these trees.
· The health of the lake would be improved.
· Insects in the lake were in mass decline.
· The proposals would deliver potential improvements through the wider environment providing wildflowers to encourage insects to return.
· The trees proposed for removal were sited in the wrong place.
· The scheme would deliver benefits to nature and wildlife.
· The city was developing well in terms of enhancing Biodiversity and she hoped it would be one of the cities that would consider applying for National Park Status.
Councillor Bilton suggested that the additional photographs of the trees circulated at this evenings meeting should have been included on the update sheet in terms of transparency for all.
The Chair advised that he had allowed the illustrations to be tabled at his own discretion on this occasion.
Members discussed the content of the report in further detail, raising the following questions:
· Would the trees to be removed be replaced 1 for 1 by the same species?
· Would the trees be replaced in Boultham Park itself rather than the area?
· Would the cost of the timber to be removed be recovered?
· Were there any plans available showing how many trees were originally planted in the park?
· Was it possible instead to use maintenance on an ongoing basis rather than felling of trees?
· Had lessons learnt from previous flood alleviation works been used here?
The Assistant Director for Communities and Street Scene offered the following points of clarification:
· There were 37 trees identified for removal and delegated power requested for up to a further 9 to be removed only if proved necessary.
· Trees would be replaced in the park itself.
· Advice would be sought from Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust as to the type of species to be replaced which would be predominantly indigenous.
· The council would not benefit financially from the removal of the timber as it was part of the undertaking with the contractor carrying out the work.
· All the trees were currently included within a maintenance plan.
· There were no archived plans available detailing the original planting of the trees.
· Some of the trees to be removed would be utilised as sculpture work to add interest in the park if this provided possible.
1. The removal of 37 trees listed at Appendix A to the officer’s report be supported by Planning Committee, should the bid to the National Lottery be successful.
2. Authority be delegated to the Portfolio Holder for Remarkable Place for the removal of up to a further 9 trees should the need arise where he was satisfied that it was in the interests of the park and the project.