Tree Felling

1. How many trees have been felled by the council in the last three years for which data is available – please provide a year by year breakdown.

Although individual premises may arrange to fell occasional trees for other reasons, the majority of trees felled on Devon County Council premises are as a result of recommendations from the private consultants engaged by the county to undertake safety inspection on its trees. These inspections currently occur on a three year rotation with the third of the county inspected each year. The number of trees identified for felling as a result of these surveys is
2015 86
2016 68
2017 79

2. How much has it cost the council to fell trees in the last three years? Please provide year by year breakdown of total cost.

We do not have a central figure for the felling costs for premises trees and we therefore do not hold the information you are requesting. Although inspections are organised and paid for centrally, responsibility for arranging and paying for the subsequent works is delegated to individual sites.

To obtain a figure from each record at each individual site for each individual tree felling would require a significant volume of work. From the total of 233 fellings identified in response to question 1 above, and assuming an average of 15 minutes average per record, (where the difficulty of obtaining the information would vary between sites) this would total in excess of 58 hours. This information is therefore exempt from disclosure pursuant to s.12 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

3. Does the council have a target number of trees to fell in each year? What is the purpose of the tree felling?

The Council does not hold a felling target. The majority of premises’ trees felled are done as a result being identified as a health and safety risk. A few may be felled in response to complaints by neighbours or to facilitate building works on site. On a very small number of sites trees (particularly invasive or non-native) may be felled as part of the ongoing conservation management of the site.