Dangerous trees to be tackled
A plan to chop down dangerous trees and remove the public health nuisance of pigeons has been agreed by Walsall Council bosses.
The authority’s cabinet met on Wednesday and agreed to increase the amount of grass cutting and weed spraying across the borough.
And as part of the initiative, an extra team will be deployed to tackle problem trees in a poor condition and causing hazards to motorists and pedestrians.
But council leader Mike Bird said it will also help curb the growing pigeon population which was causing a health hazard in the town.
The overall changes mean there will be three teams in place while weed spraying will increase to three a year from the current one and grass cutting will be carried out every three weeks instead of four.
At some locations, the authority will also trial flower meadows to improve the environment. The changes will cost a total of £181,000 in 2019/20 and 2020/21.
Councillor Oliver Butler, portfolio holder for clean and green, said: “Why we are doing this? It shows we care and have pride in our town. We are listening and responding to our residents’ concerns keeping their areas clean and tidy.
“It’s broken window syndrome as well. If it looks uncared for, not looked after, people don’t care for it and it just brings more problems in.”
Councillor Bird said the trees – of which there are 100,000 across the borough – were planted decades ago but had grown into sprawling trees that were causing pavements to be heaved up and causing hazards.
He also said the authority needed to stop the practice of leaving stumps – done to protect future planting rights – as it cost the council thousands to trim them due to epicormic growth.
Councillor Bird said: “One of my concerns has been over many years that the safety of our trees is something we have discounted.
“We have to look at the danger of these trees as they get bigger and bigger. When you are pulling out of some of the roads, it is a positive highways danger.
“We also have to look at this from a health point of view and that is the increase in the pigeon population that we have got in Walsall.
“I’ve seen pictures where people weren’t able to drive out because of the amount of mess on the windscreen.
“We need to look at a policy of tree reduction and replacement with a species of tree that is far more 21st century than some of the beech trees and sycamores or whatever else we have got that cause a nuisance.”
Labour group leader Aftab Nawaz said: “Of course we agree to the grass cutting and making the borough look better.
“But we still need to see where the £20 million cuts are going to come from.
“And we also want to see where they re-designate the cutting of the grass and how equitable that will be for the whole borough or whether it is just going to be in areas that are advantageous to the Conservatives politically.”
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