To receive petitions and public questions in accordance with Standing Order 9.
Under standing order 9, the Mayor invited the 2 public questioners to come forward.
My question is in regard to the planting of 6000 trees at Lynnsport in April this year as part of the Borough Council's strategy to tackle climate change and offset carbon dioxide emissions, and replacing trees that had previously been planted at King's Reach, at a cost in excess of £83,000. For whatever reason, the vast majority of these trees have died. Can you tell me where the funding for this was received from please?
Cllr Kunes gave the following response:
“You state that the vast majority of the trees have died, I do not believe this is the case. I spent a several hours at the Lynnsport site a couple of weeks ago and examined somewhere in excess of 300 trees, the vast majority of which were alive. But I don't profess to be an expert so I have asked our Tree officer, who is a trained and Qualified Aborculturalist to pay yet another visit to the site and report back.
This is his report.
I’ve had a walk round Lynnsport; the majority of the trees are still alive, yes, we have some dead trees but that’s only to be expected, when planting woodlands/groups of trees you should expect about 20% death rate, that’s why the trees are planted so close together, some die leaving space for the others. A lot of the trees haven’t come out in leaf yet, but in my experience, they can sometimes sit there and not break into leaf until the end of the summer. Those that haven’t come out in leaf are still green under the bark and the buds are soft and swelling.
We’ve also got to remember that the trees have been through a bit of a shock; they would’ve been lifted, kept in a cold environment to stop them from growing, transported and then put in the ground, it’s a big ask to have them planted and expect them all to burst into leaf at the first signs of spring, they need to acclimatise. That is the end of his report.
You also state that the cost of the tree planting across the Lynnsport and Kings reach site was £83,000. This is also not true. The cost was actually just under £27,000.” This money comes from the Environment Budget.
By way of supplementary Ms Bruce asked if Councillor Kunes would visit the site with interested parties. Councillor Kunes confirmed he had visited the site a number of times recently, so would do so in the spring.
I understand that this year the council’s Open Spaces team are playing their part in tackling climate crises by using only peat free compost. Good news for the environment.
Has the Open Space Team any plans to move to more nature friendly planting? Some councils have done this for example Burnley, where planting has benefitted biodiversity and saved money.
Cllr Kunes gave the following response:
“I have spoken to our open space team, and this is their reply
Within the last five years we have reduced grass cutting regime to encourage local diversity and create habitats for insects and bees, we have reduced annual bedding and replaced with sustainable planting and native species of plants, we have left specific areas to encourage biodiversity and improve local ecology.
Public Open Space teams have created/ seeded perennial floral areas within the main routes for Kings Lynn and Downham Market .
In general we take into consideration sustainability , low maintenance and drought tolerant species within all new planting , as rule of thumb we retain all annual bedding within our formal garden areas ie Tower Gardens / Walks , Esplanade gardens etc where it is appropriate and expected and valued by the general public.”
By way of supplementary, Ms Walker asked if the Council could communicate to the public the need to tackle climate change being the reason for changes to areas to more insect friendly overgrown areas. Councillor Kunes undertook to take on board the need to communicate this when it was the case.