Friday, 20 July 2018

Trees in pots would damage pavement

PLANS to put pollution- reducing trees on a street in Henley have suffered a setback.

PLANS to put pollution- reducing trees on a street in Henley have suffered a setback.

Henley in Bloom had proposed to put silver birch trees in Duke Street, which has some of the highest levels of traffic pollution in the town.

But Oxfordshire County Council is concerned about the size and weight of the pots for the trees and the potential to damage the  pavements.

It says foundations for the pots are required because of the weight the trees would put on the “underground apparatus”t.

Speaking at last week’s Henley in Bloom meeting, town councillor David Eggleton suggested putting the trees into shallower pots to spread the weight and prevent any damage.

Gareth Bartle, parks manager at Henley Town Council, said the planters should be theft-proof as they would need four people to move them.

Six silver birch trees have been donated to the town council after committee member Caroline Langler, first raised the idea in December.

She said: “I saw it on the BBC’s Trust Me, I’m A Doctor. They did an experiment and putting the trees up reduced pollution by 60 per cent.

“I wanted quite small planters that looked smart because it would take up less of the pavement. We ought to try to get something moving.”

If the plan to put the trees in Duke Street fails, the committee will consider putting them at Northfield End.

Cllr Eggleton said: “We could try putting the trees in a number of locations and see if residents like them being there or not.” Chairman Simon Smith said: “I’m in favour of as many trees as possible.”

Mayor Lorraine Hillier said she would talk to county councillor David Nimmo Smith to see if he could help find a suitable location.

Meanwhile, the committee also recommended that the council pays for six hanging baskets for Greys Road.

The council already has 129 baskets displayed around the town on top of more than 200 baskets bought by shops, businesses and residents.

The baskets are supplied and maintained by Windowflowers, of Burnham.

Cllr Hillier asked if it was possible to involve the town’s florists in arraning their own hanging basket scheme. Councillor Kellie Hinton, former chairwoman of Henley in Bloom, explained that the businesses might not be able to meet the demand for baskets whereas Windowflowers could. This year’s orders total was a record.

Mr Bartle suggested florists could help out now by filling some of the empty planters around the town with flowers.

“We have various planters that are not sponsored,” he said.

Marisa Francini, another committee member, said: “You could have a planter by each one. That is the best way to do it.”

Mrs Langler added: “We should try to tell them to stick to the colours we have in the baskets like pinks and purples. Nothing too garish or anything that clashes.”

Henley has some of the worst traffic pollution levels in South Oxfordshire.

In June 2014, the average annual reading of nitrogen dioxide was 62.4 micrograms per cubic metre compared with the 40mcm objective set by Air Quality England.

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