BTC/100/2015 - Modern arboriculture: time to catch up! The AA Arb Magazine (Spring 2015)
In his 2007 AA Conference presentation ‘Trees; urban air-conditioning’, Jeremy Barrell raised the alarm that urban canopy cover was decreasing, and advocated reversing that trend. He identified a range of reasons, from risk-averse advisors to failed new planting to tree-phobic highway managers, but by far the greatest loss was from development. Despite the UK having one of the most sophisticated planning systems in the world, eight years later he sees little significant change; many local planning authorities ("LPAs") are still failing to effectively administer development control and the bulk of developers continue to favour a quick profit over long-term sustainability. There are isolated pockets of excellence from both developers and LPAs, which proves that the system can work with the right inputs, but the good is far outweighed by widespread poor practice. Urban trees are in trouble and their rescue is in the hands of all built-environment professionals, not just arboriculturists.