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Our precious trees are being left to die

PUBLISHED: 16:05 02 October 2008 | UPDATED: 15:27 07 September 2010

A dying tree in West Hampstead

A dying tree in West Hampstead

Residents claim trees across West Hampstead are being neglected and left to die in the week it emerged Camden Council has delayed its tree pruning programme. Three years ago the council undertook a programme to replace 100 dead trees in the area. But sin

Residents claim trees across West Hampstead are being neglected and left to die in the week it emerged Camden Council has delayed its tree pruning programme.

Three years ago the council undertook a programme to replace 100 dead trees in the area.

But since residents claim there has been little supervision and the trees are either dying or overgrowing.

Mark Stonebanks, a member of West Hampstead Amenity and Transport group (WHAT), said: "Some of the replacement trees haven't taken hold very well and some of the species that they used haven't grown very well and are not very aesthetic.

"Others which require proper pruning have sprawled very low so you have to duck to walk underneath them which is ridiculous.

"People are not happy with the situation and they end up cutting them back themselves.

"There are still quite a few dead trees around and some just haven't grown.

"Camden does have a tree strategy but they are not following through and giving it the resources it needs.

"West Hampstead is supposed to have a tree pruning cycle once every three years but it keeps getting put back. Trees are very important to people and they make the streets a lot more pleasant and there is no doubt that trees help cities and communities like West Hampstead."

The group will submit a report to the council in the hope the situation can be rectified.

Virginia Berridge, WHAT chairwoman, said: "The council doesn't seem to want to do anything about it and no one is taking care of them.

"Lots of trees died a few years ago and the council spent a lot of money replacing them but now they are being neglected.

"People are disappointed that the council spent all this money and have now let it go.

"They are still pruning the big trees but they are not making sure that the other trees are thriving. People are quite upset about it."

A Camden Council spokeswoman said they were unaware of the problem but vowed to investigate after being approached by the Ham&High.

She said the trees were subject to a three-year cyclical maintenance programme and that they were not due for a maintenance check for another 12 months.

"We have not received any enquiries from residents and so were unaware that there were any problems," she said. "Now that it has been brought to our attention an inspection of the trees will be carried out to check on the condition. "Any trees that have died or need attention will receive the necessary work and replanting in the winter."

She added the council's tree planting programme, had suffered delays due to budget constraints but that additional funding had been sought to put it back on track.

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