Another community group is starting and this one is
To Champion our Trees.
It is commonly understood that "Ashtede", as Ashtead was originally designated, means "Homestead among the Ash trees", and we are lucky to still live in a leafy green area. But trees need to be protected from development, given care as necessary, and new trees planted from time to time.
The Tree Council is the umbrella organisation co-ordinating all matters relating to trees in the UK. One of their aims is to create a national network of volunteer Tree Wardens, who will have knowledge of the state of trees in their area.
Ashtead has not had Tree Wardens for many years. In the course of surveys carried out by in connection with preparation of the Ashtead Neighbourhood Development Plan, it became clear that there were trees and wooded areas that might merit protection, and a need for a programme of tree care. Following discussions in Ashtead Residents' Association's Committee and with other residents' associations and MVDC staff, the establishment of an Ashtead Tree Wardens group emerged as the way to work towards protecting our trees.
Tree Wardens are not expected to be experts, but simply need a love of, and interest in, trees and hedges.
Typical involvement would be checking on protected trees ,documenting trees that might qualify for protection, and drawing attention to trees that need maintenance work. The Ashtead Tree Wardens might organize collection of seed, set up a native tree nursery, and plant and protect young trees, on verges and in public spaces. Schools and other voluntary groups could be involved, and talks given to residents to encourage them to care for trees.
The new local group is being established under the auspices of Ashtead Residents' Association, will be represented on its Standing Committee, and liaise with MVDC Tree (Planning) Officers.
We are currently a "gang of four" namely Roy Guy (Chair), Keith Lelliott, Steve Kirton, and Chrissy Kerton (Secretary), but hope to expand, with your participation. Margaret Boston has joined as a Friend. Cllrs Hawksworth and Wiltshire will be able to provide scientific factual information to the group but are unable to express opinions on the merits or otherwise of any planning application concerning trees as Council rules prohibit this.
Further information on the national scheme can be found at www.treecouncil.org.uk and www.surreytreewardens.org.uk
Chrissy Kerton (Secretary, Ashtead Tree Wardens)