The Aytoun Barks Back campaign, launched earlier this year to protect an impressive group of trees in Manchester city centre, is calling for help at a critical time in their battle. The great news is that a provisional Tree Preservation Order (TPO) has been granted by the Council. There’s now a consultation period until 8 September and the campaigners want to make sure as many people as possible send a quick email of support to the Council’s Planning Department.
Campaigner and local resident Rob Darby urges people to do their bit. He said: ‘Please email email@example.com with the ref L/AF/EVD3001/3876 in the subject line before 8 September, and say that you strongly support putting a Preservation Order on these 31 magnificent city centre trees. It’ll only take a couple of minutes, and it will really make a difference if the Council know this campaign has a lot of public support. If you want to say more in your own words about the importance of green space in town etc, of course that would be great!’
Another local resident, Lynette Cawthra, added: ‘We’re absolutely made up that the Council agree – to quote their wording from the proposed TPO – that these trees ‘make a significant contribution’ to the urban landscape. There are so few mature trees in the city centre that this group of 31 lovely trees are really something special. We’d urge people to write to the Council to make sure they’re kept safe for everyone to enjoy’.
Local Councillors Adele Douglas, Sam Wheeler and Jon-Connor Lyons said: ‘These are some of the most mature trees within the city centre and need to be officially protected. The plot of land is a surface level car park and most likely will see development in the future; that is why it is so vital that these trees are protected from being cut down in the middle of the night. If people join us in demanding a Tree Preservation Order for these fantastic trees, we can help to ensure they remain part of the streetscape in our city centre’.
Campaigners are concerned that the landowner, who would be forced either to protect these trees or to make a formal request to cut them down if the TPO is granted, will object to the application. There are also worries amongst local residents and Councillors that the Council itself may recommend a ‘refusal’ for the application.
Aytoun Barks Back was set up by local residents to lobby the City Council to save the 31 large London plane trees between Aytoun, Minshull, Major and Bloom Streets in the city centre. You can follow news of the campaign at facebook.com/AytounBarksBack and Twitter @AytounBarksBack
The Greater Manchester Ecology Unit has said: ‘Tree cover, and particularly cover from mature broadleaved trees, is very scarce in the city centre and therefore the trees are an important local resource for wildlife’. Every evening you can see different species of birds roosting there.
The trees also play an important part in keeping the city’s air cleaner. This makes their presence highly relevant to the Council’s aim of making Manchester a zero-carbon city – to achieve the target date of 2038, carbon emissions will need to reduce by 13 per cent every year.
The Council’s Arboricultural team has said that they are ‘a wonderful arboreal asset for the city centre’. The Aytoun Barks Back campaigners agree – and hope you do too.
You can contact the Aytoun Barks Back campaign on firstname.lastname@example.org.
London planes were first described in the 17th century (in Spain), then extensively planted in the 18th. They are widely planted in city streets and parks for their attractiveness and shade, and resilience to air pollution and water shortages. They can grow to 35m and live for several hundred years.