BTC/110/2015 - Highways trees and people: time to move on. The AA Arb Magazine (Winter 2015)
Anyone travelling along Britain’s modern rural motorway and trunk road network cannot fail to be impressed at the amount and extent of tree cover lining the carriageway; it is visionary, successful and a world class example of long term planning at its best. Quite surprising then to find the complete opposite along many of our older secondary roads and urban streets, where tree cover is often sparse or non-existent. The obvious excuse is that there is less space in towns, but perhaps a more sinister reason lurks behind that facile façade. There is increasing evidence that highway authorities are adopting a presumption to remove existing trees and not to replace, rather than maintaining or expanding highway canopy cover. The current generation of highway engineers are presiding over local decisions that benefit their own narrow objectives, to the detriment of the wider population, which is being deprived of the benefits that tree-lined routes can deliver.