Excerpt from the LUC Report (for lbs) June 2014, p 27

Green Dale Open Space Improvement Project - Phase I Stage C Report - 2ND DRAFT

Summary of Arboricultural Survey

SJ Stephens Associates conducted a tree survey of all trees and shrubs on site with a stem diameter of over 75mm at 1.5m height, in April 2014. The full report, schedule and plan are include in the appendices. In summary, the results are as follows: 

95no. trees and 9no. groups of trees were surveyed. The trees are generally found around the perimeter of the site. Within and around the perimeters of the disused tennis courts the trees have formed as multi stem trees that are likely to have a more limited life expectancy than open grown, single stem trees. In more open areas of the site young trees have grown through natural regeneration and consist mainly of sycamore and norway maple with oak, ash and thorn.

Of all the trees on site, 2no. an oak and an ash, are considered to be of A-B2 category (moderate-high quality) 32no. are B-C2 category (low-moderate quality), 54no. are C2 category (low quality) and 16no. have been categorised as U (unsuitable for retention). These results are particularly important in the longer term as more than half of the trees surveyed on site have a life expectancy of under 15 years. For this reason it is particularly important that the best new trees (too small to be individually surveyed) are protected and allowed to become A category trees for future decades.

The arboriculturalist makes the following specific recommendations:

1. Along the southeastern boundary and the southern corner of the eastern boundary are a number of Lombardy poplar trees. The majority of these trees are over 20m in height and form a distinctive feature in the landscape. However they have all reached maturity and are now all in varying stages of decline. Lombardy poplar are a fast growing, short lived species that are prone to breakage due to the low density of their wood. It is inevitable that the further breakages will occur. Although the trees could be reduced in height by 30% this would only be a short term measure and therefore consideration should be given to their future removal to avoid the risk of hazard. It is likely that the removal of such a prominent landscape feature will cause some upset and therefore it is recommended that the reason for this course of action is locally publicised.

2. It is recommended that suitable trees, of good form and structure, are selected to grow on as dominant trees within the landscape. Poorer trees should be thinned to favour the better specimens. There are a number of trees in the western area of the site (grouped as G9 in the Tree Survey and shown on the plan included as Appendix A), including many young oak, that show good potential for future development.

Recommended tree works are as follows:

11no. trees are recommended for felling. Of these 8no. are dying back and 3no. are recommended for felling for safety concerns. 14no. trees are recommended for some tree work, including crown reduction of 30% and removal of deadwood, basal growth and ivy. Full details are in the appended Tree Schedule. Reference should be made to the Southwark Tree Management Strategy prior to any works.