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Street trees planned for the district’s developments

A partnership between South Kesteven District Council and Lincolnshire County Council will see an increase in tree cover across the district.

Changes to national planning policy are in the pipeline to include street trees in new developments, but SKDC has already taken steps to ensure they are provided at the planning stage.

Councillor Nick Robins, SKDC cabinet member for planning and planning policy, said: “I am really passionate about the steps we are taking to ensure that housing builders include street trees in their developments wherever possible.

“We all know how important trees are, improving biodiversity, creating shade and capturing and storing carbon dioxide.

“Studies have shown that trees encourage healthier lifestyles and can help to ease stress while visually they transform new housing developments, making them much more attractive places to live with the all-round environmental benefits they bring.

“We have now introduced the concept of landscaping into initial planning discussions, citing current national guidance on tree planting. Design is a very important element, and we will be requiring developers to include street trees wherever they can.

“We are delighted that Lincolnshire County Council as the highways department is fully on board and is willing to adopt roads with street trees and take responsibility for their management.”

Protecting and improving the environment is a key element of SKDC’s Corporate Plan. The council is working to reduce its carbon footprint by at least 30 per cent by 2030 and become net-zero carbon as soon as viable before 2050.

Not long ago SKDC approved developments with no trees at all but recently there has been a wider push for good design across South Kesteven.

The district’s local plan, adopted in January last year, requires that all development proposals have regard to its design supplementary planning document (SPD). Consultation on this document has just closed, and the district hopes to adopt it later this year.

It includes “hooks” that SKDC has already used to require trees in developments. Results so far have been better developments overall,with street trees an example of that improvement.

Design:Midlands, an independent design review body for whose services SKDC received government funding, has also helped to raise the design quality of new development within the district.

David Singleton, a landscape architect and founder of the DSA Environment + Design practice, says his aim is not to just “get some trees” but to ensure they “enhance the sense of place, improve safety and biodiversity, screen of shade, sequester carbon and all the other things that trees potentially do.

The county has pledged to facilitate the planting of 750,000 trees by 2025. In its role as highways and lead local flood authority, it recently published an updated document setting out how as a statutory consultee it reviews large development proposals.

The document lists 15 “reasons to plant trees” in new developments, but urges “careful consideration be given to the choice of species, their location and how they are planted.

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