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Save the ivy on Arnold Circus

November 29, 2009
by

The London  Plane tree clad with ivy on Arnold circus is about to lose its seasonal visitors of blackbirds, Wrens, Robins, Great Tits, Blue  Tits, Coal Tits, Greenfinches and  Chaffinches together with spiders and insects like butterflies, moths  and bees. This mature tree and attached ivy has provided spring nesting places, a natural food source for creatures throughout the year, winter hibernation for bees, moths and butterflies  and winter roosting and shelter for small birds. The Friends would prefer that the ivy could be cut back from the branches using a cherry picker and be regularly maintained to prevent it from becoming top heavy. With the renovation works about to start the tree will lose the ivy in the new plans for the garden.

The following is taken from Tower Hamlets own Biodiversity Action Plan:

Grounds and Gardens, which includes grounds of schools and other education providers, businesses, communal gardens on housing estates, allotments, community and private gardens, all provide a variety of different habitats for native plants and animals such as ponds, hedges, log piles, wildflower meadows and trees. Their distribution is widespread and together makes up about 28% of the total land use in the Borough, a significant coverage when compared to the 10.9 % of area offered by our official parks and open spaces. Many of these areas are of low habitat value but with active public involvement they can become a rich network of green corridors for biodiversity to expand and flourish. Animals can move easily from one to another and seeds can be spread forming potentially rich and important habitats for wildlife.

http://www.towerhabitats.org/wild-things-wild-places.htm

Comments from Kenneth Greenway – Cemetery Park Liaison Officer

Firstly, here at the Cemetery Park we have quite an aggressive attitude towards Ivy, but that is because it has for many years been the Status Quo. Saying this we are open minded and in some cases we allow Ivy to persist on a tree.

Right, onto positive arguments for Ivy.  Assuming you have a strong tree with a well developed trunk and crown Ivy will offer it’s highest wildlife value when in contact with direct sunlight.  During Sept and Oct it flowers in these aspects and offers a wonderful nectar/pollen resource to many invertebrates such as a number of butterfly species like the Red Admiral, Speckled Wood and Brimstone, along with a large number of hoverfly species, and spiders, etc.  This in turn creates an opportunity for birds.  During late winter before spring Ivy then offers a wealth of new food opportunities as the Ivy ripens it berries which are then devoured by birds.  During the rest of the year it is a wonderful resource for nesting birds and if dense can be a roosting opportunity for bats.

Ivy of course can be a negative thing, especially if it grows on a weak, spindly tree.  Ivy is not parasitic and if you look carefully it will not grow across branches of a particular thickness. It does create dense, dark cover that will allow little else to thrive.  If a tree is weak, or tall and spindly the sheer weight of Ivy, often assisted by the wind can cause trees to fall over and limbs to drop.

My point of view would be to have at least one tree covered in Ivy and choose the tree that gets the most sun during the day.  It’s also worth noting that the London Planes trees at AC are substantial plants in their own right and I think will quite happily cope with a cover of Ivy.

Please help to preserve this natural habitat by commenting on this blog. Thanks

Contact

abdul.j.khan@towerhamlets.gov.uk,020 7364 5816
halim.abdul@towerhamlets.gov.uk, 020 7364 2631

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53 Comments leave one →
  1. Henry permalink*
    November 29, 2009 12:04 pm

    I’m all for keeping the ivy.

  2. Leila permalink
    November 29, 2009 1:38 pm

    From my research, if ivy is kept off the crown then it poses no risk to a healthy tree. Some people think it looks messy or gloomy but there are clearly many benefits to wildlife. Given Kenneth’s comments about ivy being more beneficial in a sunny position i would like to see it kept on one tree on the south facing side of the circus.

  3. Gail Burton permalink
    November 29, 2009 2:38 pm

    I strongly urge the council to retain the ivy on the trees of Arnold Circus. It looks beautiful. It contributes enormously to the particular light, atmosphere and character of the gardens and circus – making it a romantic, natural and idiosyncratic location. People who live here love the ivy. To remove it would be a travesty, it would radically alter the appearance of the circus, removing its special atmosphere. These are arguments all in favour of the ivy for how it benefits us, the people. I am aware too that it benefits wildlife – and is also not dangerous to large established trees, such as the ones of the circus.

  4. Franny Upritchard permalink
    November 29, 2009 2:54 pm

    I love the Ivy on that plane tree, where else are birds supposed to live? What I thought gardens are for in urban enviroments is a respite from architecture, so the circus needn’t mimmic the surrounding buildings by being symmetrical. I think it’s cute that that one tree looks a little heavier than the others, although, it would look even nicer to me if there was ivy on all of the trees.

  5. Jean permalink
    November 29, 2009 4:58 pm

    Today, I have been removing and saving plants from Arnold Circus with Andy and Robin in the pouring rain and watched blackbirds darting in and out of the ivy for protection. Where are they going to find a winter habitat and food supply if this ivy is removed? It can and should be maintained. Westminster City Council has a policy of keeping ivy on trees, why can’t we?

  6. Caragh permalink
    November 29, 2009 6:06 pm

    The ivy should be left on at least one tree. As stated in the Tower Hamlets document, biodiversity is an important consideration. Arnold Circus is one of the few green areas in a very built up zone and anything that enables support and development of a natural ecosystem is invaluable.

  7. Jason, Lucy and George permalink
    November 29, 2009 6:46 pm

    We live on the Boundary Estate with our 2 year old son and regularly play on the Circus. Amongst all the positive changes that have happened to the Circus in the last few years.. getting rid of the ivy is a step backwards. We agree wholeheartedly with Gail and Jean, the ivy is part of what makes the circus unique. Any action that is detrimental to the biodiversity of the Circus is also a potential disaster. There is so little green space around the Boundary Estate, we want the wildlife to thrive – the ivy should stay.

  8. Marcus Taylor permalink
    November 30, 2009 5:59 pm

    We like the ivy. The birds the bees the moths like the ivy too. It stays green all year long. It’s a home, a source of food, it enriches the local habitat. Through the efforts of local people the Circus is being loved and looked after. Everyone around here feels part of that experience. Can we keep it please?

  9. caitlin Elster permalink
    November 30, 2009 7:07 pm

    Seeing as its taken so long to grow it seems very sad to cut it down in one go, why not just cut back any growth that is to high up in the trees, says the bees?

  10. December 1, 2009 1:02 am

    I have absolutely nothing against ivy.

  11. Elke permalink
    December 2, 2009 12:23 am

    I live on Boundary estate and would find it very very sad to see the ivy going. Is there no option to keep it at least partly?

  12. Patrick Smith permalink
    December 2, 2009 11:23 pm

    I have gardened on Arnold Circus for the last two years and would be sad to see the Ivy going. The Ivy on the trees is a major player in supporting wild life, it supports insects which in turn feeds birds and also provides nesting places, bats like Ivy too. Also why are all the shrubs going? There are thriving communities of Wren, Robin and Blackbird on the Circus who will be rendered homeless by their removal. The red bed berried catoneaster are an especially good winter food source for birds.

  13. Michael Marriott permalink
    December 3, 2009 8:02 am

    Seems like all the evidence suggests we should actually be cultivating more ivy, eh?

  14. lucy permalink
    December 3, 2009 10:45 am

    Yes, the circus doesn’t have to look symmetrical to that extent and should accommodate an ivy-covered tree. We need green spaces to be interesting, not dull and regimented.

  15. Belsize Park Tree Hugger permalink
    December 4, 2009 8:18 am

    ivy is beautiful…but hey would you rather have safe trees or ones that may collapse as no-one can check whether their safe or not ?

  16. Terri WHITE permalink
    December 4, 2009 9:34 am

    By coincidence, I recently heard a BBC Living World programme which highlights the autumn benefits of ivy to a wide range of wildlife – it is one of the few species providing nectar at this time of year – as well as debunking some of our traditional, ivy-kills-trees myths Along with others, I would love to see the ivy maintained on Arnold Circus and other urban green sites. If you are interested you can still catch the programme at
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00p0488.

  17. Clarissa Cairns permalink
    December 4, 2009 9:41 am

    The ivy contributes so much to the look and biodiversity of Arnold Circus as it is known and loved, that it should be kept. If the ivy is partially cut back so that there is no danger of it becoming topheavy, then this sturdy plane tree should remain quite safe. I gardened on Arnold Circus for two years and noticed that the ivy on this tree, in every season, provided a habitat and food for so much wildlife – birds, insects and possibly bats (which I saw circling over the Circus one summer evening).

  18. Katrina and Pete permalink
    December 4, 2009 10:58 am

    This area is one of the ‘greyest’ in Europe so we need to preserve every scrap of green that we have left if we want it to sustain a little wildlife and enjoy its beauty. Didn’t anyone else see Bill Oddy on his programme explaining that ivy is the most important plant in the garden for the ecosystem and harbours more wildlife than any other? It does no harm to trees at it is a tragedy that any of it has been removed at all.
    What is the council playing at?
    PLEASE STOP THIS TERRIBLE THING!!!!

  19. brendan sparks permalink
    December 4, 2009 12:09 pm

    Can hardly believe it’s necessary to have to campaign for the retention of greenery on the Boundary Estate. What all our cities and urban areas need is more green places, not just to preserve our dwindling wild life, but to give us an opportunity to look upon something other than concrete and brick. It would be comforting to know that the powers that be could recognise the need for more greening, rather than the depletion of what little there is.

  20. Jason permalink
    December 4, 2009 1:36 pm

    If the ivy doesn’t threaten the tree I don’t see any reason to remove it. What reason is given to remove it? It would be a real shame if it was cut off the trees on Arnold Circus merely to satisfy a Tower Hamlets directive or a designer’s impulse.

  21. lorraine Hart permalink
    December 4, 2009 5:00 pm

    I think an ivy covered tree is really important for birds at the circus – let’s keep it.

  22. Tina permalink
    December 4, 2009 6:43 pm

    We need the ivy! Please listen to us – the residents of Arnold Circus!

  23. December 6, 2009 1:15 am

    A tidy garden is not good for wildlife, we need to learn to leave areas for hibernating insects and small mammals, and to grow as many old-fashioned plants and as many different plants as possible to help keep our natural world as diverse as possible. Please keep the ivy to help with this. The council has a duty to keep an eye on its mass for safety, if Westminster Council can keep their ivy on trees, so can Tower Hamlets. What an interesting discussion, I had no idea ivy was so important fro butterflies, nesting birds, a food source for birds, etc. I hope there will be nests for solitary bees and bird boxes in the new Arnold Circus, perfect projects for the local school . The amazing Physic Garden in Chelsea has lots of ivy and easy to make bee houses that will inspire your plans.

  24. Alix permalink
    December 6, 2009 11:47 pm

    The Holly and the Ivy…. I say keep some ivy and plant some holly..how else are our children to understand this Christmas Carol without a few real examples? And what about berries for the birds in winter? Bio-diversity including shrubs and climbers, diversity of people, peace on earth.

  25. PETE 'N' VEE BALLAN permalink
    December 7, 2009 9:59 am

    When visiting friends around A/C we appreciate the micro bio-diversity of the wee area left green. To lose ANY part of A/C to the axe or chainsaw is perpetuating the concrete lunacy.
    PLEASE keep the ivy, and keep in touch with the green that is there !

  26. Jamie Johnson permalink
    December 7, 2009 10:26 am

    Please keep the ivy… it’s years of character + growth + It’s beautiful.

  27. Margot permalink
    December 7, 2009 11:32 am

    The circus gives me so much joy throughout the year and to know that their is so much life happening amongst the Ivy is a wonderful, lets listen to all the wise advice and keep the ivy.

  28. Bartyflartbast permalink
    December 7, 2009 12:32 pm

    Why are local governments so obsessed with manicuring every bit of wildlife out of our towns and cities?

    When the white man has killed all the animals on the land and all the birds in the sky, he will be lonely. – Crazy Horse

    We must protect the forests for our children, grandchildren and children yet to be born. We must protect the forests for those who can’t speak for themselves such as the birds, animals, fish and trees. – Qwatsinas

  29. December 7, 2009 1:28 pm

    Please leave the ivy the circus is so bleak with the trees all stripped. If it provides a home for wildlife and doesn’t damage the tree then why not?

  30. December 7, 2009 3:10 pm

    The tree is unlikely to die from ivy hugging it but possibly from the fumes and noise that comes with 78 bus. Don’t remove something that has been self-cultivated for longer then we remember.

  31. Local permalink
    December 9, 2009 7:32 pm

    Keep the Ivy……..get rid of the trendies!

  32. Matt Johnson permalink
    December 9, 2009 9:12 pm

    This area is so sterile and barren. Whatever it takes to encourage birds and insects to visit us. Keep the ivy!!

  33. Dot permalink
    December 9, 2009 9:59 pm

    The Council continues to promote itself ‘as caring about the community’ it aims to represent, as being interested in local views and of striving to maintain the few green spaces it has not disposed of to developers.
    Seeing the Council has finally now acknowledged Arnold Circus Bandstand, although it has failed to stop the buses using it as a roundabout – even though it is situated in a predominately residential area, complete with a school.

    The bandstand has survived years of neglect, vandalism and arson attacks, primarily thanks to the handful of local residents who have taken on the responsibility of protecting it.
    Local enthusiasts, horticulturalists, primary school children and their families have worked tirelessly though out recent years to create a safe accessible space – barely surrounded by a small green area, that is filled with plants, bedding and foliage and the wildlife it attracts.
    Not being a gardener myself, or knowledgeable about birds, I do however realize that listening to those with hindsight and wisdom is the sensible thing to do, if public opinion is strong for the IVY to remain, as it is a benefit for wildlife and nature, are those with the power to disagree the same ones who represent the community?

  34. December 10, 2009 11:28 am

    what a crying shame. After Jean, Leila and others spend time, effort and money in rejuvinating the Circus, in come the institutional bureaucratic vandals.

    A strong opinion perhaps, but having witnessed the desecration of the ‘hedgerow’ at the back of Wargrave House, the council should not be permitted to issue any instruction on gardening issues, nor their contractors undertake work unless one of the local gardeners are consulted and subsequently witneses any work undertaken
    .
    Its testement to The Friends of Arnold circus that this issue is emotive, that is to be applauded

  35. Mary Ruskin permalink
    December 10, 2009 3:45 pm

    It is surely of enormous importance to keep the ivy on the plane tree in Arnold Circus. There are many reasons for this, including the aesthetic and the historic. However, by far the most imprtant reason for keeping the ivy is as a habitat for birds and insects. In an increasingly bare and garden-less environment, we must do our utmost to keep such habitats alive. I urge you to reconsider the plans to strip the tree of ivy: this would be criminal, irreversible folly.

  36. Kerry permalink
    December 11, 2009 5:42 pm

    I can only echo what everyone else who lives around this unique, still mostly green circus says – KEEP THE IVY! Surely the voices of the residents have to count for something?

  37. Liza Maberly permalink
    December 11, 2009 8:23 pm

    I was a working visitor to Arnold Circus in 2007 – emptying compost, weeding gardens, planting bulbs. From my home, 19,000 kms away, I picture the love,care and attention of those who have the best interests of Arnold Circus at heart. The managed ivy and its wildlife was an integral part of this treasure. To strip this growth would be to contribute to its destruction. My plea is to listen to those who know and love the Circus best and whose advice is to keep the ivy.

  38. rhodri - tree officer permalink
    December 14, 2009 1:20 pm

    dear all

    I`ve watched the comments appearing on this site with some interest over the last few weeks (sorry for lurking) I thought it may be worth me putting the reasons and method behind our tree management into the mix…

    we aren`t removing the ivy for Biodiversity reasons, merely ones of health and safety..if we cant inspect the stem of the tree we cant underwrite its stability and integrity and therefore we cant be certain its safe.

    As Arnold Circus is made up of literally made ground, it has some fundamental stability /soil integrity problems…tree`s cant root very well into soil that has voids and gaps in it, like that underneath Arnold Circus, so as the responsible landowner we need to be very sure that our trees are inspected and safe.

    the planes at Arnold Circus are approaching middle age and like many trees will progressively develop faults and problems that we can manage if we discover them in time. ivy prevents us from inspecting trees properly so we cant manage the problems until they are too big, or its too late.

    personally i think the name, london plane makes them sound so ordinary when in fact they`re the cornerstone of our streets and parks, go anywhere and you will see them…maybe theres a project for someone in there to find a better name ?

    anyway, without wanting to do the Abanazer bit in the panto season
    (boo hiss he`s behind you) more about the ivy…

    Ivy can overgrow a tree and in time it can shade the tree out, thus preventing it from feeding itself (photosynthesise) it can also increase the wind resistance of the tree and by wind loading cause a branch or even a stem failure…..all good reasons to make sure we maintain our trees safely.

    these are the objective reasons behind our tree management, health and safety health and safety and once again health and safety….while we appreciate the aesthetics of the trees we must be quite sure that we are as certain as we can be about the trees safety, not only from the point of view of local residents but also anyone who may happen to visit or pass by the park ,therefore we continue to inspect and prune our trees and in busy open sites we strip the ivy off, period.

    its important to establish the context of Arnold Circus as a public park in such a busy part of town as i`m sure most residents are very very aware, its open 24/7 and we cant shut the gate or prevent people from enjoying the park…..why would we? its a public open space after all

    so the issue of the ivy removal is black and white, if the tree grew in a secluded area, not a very busy open space and we were keen to maintain it for biodiversity which could mean total non-intervention, we might let the ivy grow and carry the risk of tree failure, safe in the knowledge that no-one would ever be put at risk by such an event

    We are about to start the regular planned maintenance works on the trees growing on the streets of the boundary estate so i`m sure you will see our craftsman arborists working on the street trees, We are removing a few defective ones which naturally we will replace, if you think theres room for a street tree somewhere please let me know, we always plant more than we cut down and we can always use ideas for new sites…..apart from that its just the normal haircut for the trees

    so as the councils tree expert i hope i`ve made the reasons behind the work clear…and with the costs involved in managing large trees its not a task we undertake lightly.

    rhodri

  39. December 14, 2009 7:10 pm

    Dear Rhodri
    Thank you for your comments.
    How do you check the health of a tree?
    Could this not be done by cutting back the ivy from the upper branches and from some areas to check the bark, but leaving some ivy for the wildlife. Although you have pulled the Health & Safety card at this time during the past 25 years we have had 2 mature trees fall and neither had ivy growing on them. We appreciate the tree maintenance we have lots of them and they need it. We also have lots of wild birds. These creatures will lose their habitat and food supply and this is going to be a harsh winter if the abundance of berries is anything to go by. Is there room for compromise?

  40. rhodri - tree officer permalink
    December 14, 2009 7:51 pm

    Hi Jean

    tower hamlets uses the VTA system of tree health assessment along with standard visual investigation and identification of pests and diseases…this means that the whole tree has to be visible to enable us to inspect it and underwrite its safety

    there are undoubted benefits from biodiversity, yet the health and safety of the public must be our very first consideration! (especially in a public open space) naturally if arnold circus was a private garden and not under council management, the style of tree management would then be a matter of choice for the landowner

    if a tree does fall it is a terrible thing and can cause serious damage to property and very occasionally does result in a fatality – therefore we regularly inspect and manage council owned trees at Arnold Circus and of course on our other sites

    this is a duty of care that the council has to fulfil hence the reasoning behind complete ivy removal

    i hope this helps

    rhodri

  41. rhodri - tree officer permalink
    December 16, 2009 11:03 am

    Hi all

    just to let you know we are likely to start our tree maintenance works (weather providing) tomorrow, the work will go on for around 6-8 weeks and will stop throughout the xmas/new year break

    if anyone has a tree planting site in the streets please let me know as I still have a few street trees available for this planting season

    rhodri

  42. Gail Burton permalink
    December 16, 2009 11:46 am

    Hello Rhodri,

    bearing in mind the tree maintenance is about to begin, can you give some attention to the base around the tree trunks? Many of the trees in the courtyards and elsewhere have tarmac right up to the tree trunk which looks unsightly and disregarding to the tree. I have asked the council several times if this tarmac can be removed and replaced with a square/circle of earth/similar instead, though have been unsuccessful in this request. I hope you can improve this.

  43. Nick Appleton permalink
    December 16, 2009 9:42 pm

    I think the complete removal of the ivy would be detrimental to the wildlife currently enjoying the habitat it provides. This seems to be directly contrary to the stated aims of the park maintenance to encourage more wildlife. The idea that it should be removed because it looks “gloomy” is frankly risible!

  44. rhodri - tree officer permalink
    December 17, 2009 8:18 am

    dear all

    i`m not too sure about who owns the courtyards i agree that concrete up to the base of the trees is very bad, let me look into it and see who can be made aware of the problem as i think its still looked after by tower hamlets homes, the weeping elm in one of the courtyard areas is a standout specimen ! and as i have mentioned previously we are only removing the ivy to be certain of the trees health and safety

    our new street trees are being allocated to new sitesvery quickly, if you have any possible locations please let me know

    rhodri

  45. Gail Burton permalink
    December 17, 2009 11:49 am

    Thanks for looking into the tarmac around the tree-trunks issue Rhodri – my efforts have been fruitless, so help is appreciated.

    Is it possible to have a new street tree on Swanfield Street? It has the tendency to look a bit bleak along there, with all the backs of the flats and nothing much to break it up.

  46. December 18, 2009 12:18 am

    Again thank you for your replies. If the ivy is being removed now on health & safety grounds why was it left to grow for so many years? does that mean the tree has not been checked before?

    The weather conditions are bad for wildlife at the moment the removal of the ivy will result in the death of small birds in the area. I am requesting for the last time that some of the ivy is retained and maintained.

    There are also other low growing shrubs that we would like retained for their beauty and value to wildlife. Is there any possibility of keeping anything?

  47. rhodri - tree officer permalink
    December 18, 2009 10:23 am

    dear all,

    it seems the courtyards are the responsibility of Tower Hamlets Homes so they may be worth giving a nudge to seek removal of the tarmac

    As far as the issue of the ivy goes we will need to remove it in this tranche of programmed works

    I`m not involved in the shrub side of things as i only deal with trees

    best

    rhodri

  48. December 18, 2009 10:46 pm

    What will happen if you find bats in the ivy?

  49. rhodri - tree officer permalink
    December 21, 2009 10:22 am

    hi jean

    when we carried out a dawn and dusk survey and found no bat activity in the circus, so there arent really any indicators to suggest there are bats there

    however if we did find bats naturally we would refer it to the relavant bat group for advice and we would probbably get ken greenway on board as i`m fairly sure he`s licensed to handle bats….

    rhodri

  50. Leila permalink
    December 22, 2009 12:34 am

    I am sad to report that the ivy was cut down today. Good arguments were made to keep it so it is galling that it has fallen foul to the cursory excuse of “health and safety”. That council efforts are not focused on real dangers – like roof slates falling in high winds (as they do from time to time on the estate) or speeding 78 buses, rather than strong old trees covered in ivy is troubling. I would be keen to know what degree of inquiry was made as to why the plane trees that have fallen down locally did so – it has been suggested that the one on Calvert Avenue (no ivy involved) had it’s roots severed when cables were laid in the road. I wonder if cable laying is scrutinized in the same way as ivy.
    I am sorry that this work could not have been phased and left until the spring to ensure winter shelter and food for the birds in what looks to be a hard winter, especially as this is clearly of such great concern to so many local residents.
    Rhodri – it would be good to see trees reinstated outside my shops at 15 and 17 Calvert Avenue – http://img.skitch.com/20091221-c8q1cadpdkkjry6md6h24swas6.jpg

  51. rhodri - tree officer permalink
    December 22, 2009 11:32 am

    hi all,

    i`ve been quite busy with the other tree management issues across the borough so let me try and deicate some time to clearing the issues you`ve all raised here.

    Firstly tree planting; Leila- i will check the site yet fear there may be issues with the cctv cmaera that appeared outside the cafe and site lines from it….let me check, but i agree they are great sites for trees.

    As is Swanfield street, i will need to walk the street and plot some suitable locations and many thanks for the idea to Gail Burton

    trenching is covered by NJUG 10 – fascinating reading and usually followed by contractors, we have to face the facts that sometimes trees succumb to natural failure, all reasons why we need to be very sure about the overall condition, especially where ivy can cover up defects.

    If another body was responsible for the maintenance,insurance and total liability for health and safety to the public at large, naturally they could decide how to maintain their trees and accept the responsibility for ensuing events, but at the present time Arnold Circus is a public park and as such Tower Hamlets has to deal with it fairly, impartially and in exactly the same way as any other public park under its management; to ensure a safe enjoyable environment for the public at large in a public open space.

    regards

    rhodri

  52. jean permalink
    January 31, 2010 2:42 pm

    I am still quite disapointed by the removal of the ivy in an area starved of biodiversity and that the views of local people and experts were not listened to, particularly because there was no room for compromise.

    Customer Promise, Tower Hamlets Homes
    “We believe that the best way to deliver great services is by listening to what you have to tells us and then acting on it – so, if we don’t meet the promise, let us know”.

    I note with interest that the once ivy clad tree now has a metal tag indicating that it been inspected and is ‘safe’. The ivy was removed by the workers to a rousing chorus of ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’! Interesting choice of song seasonal yet poignant. Yes, each borough is maintained differently. Leafy Islington allows ivy to grow up the trees and overhang the road in public places. I have also noticed this in lots of London Boroughs.

    Sustainable development Team, Tower Hamlets.
    ‘Everyone living and working in London has the right to enjoy an environment where biodiversity is protected and encouraged to flourish’.

    Promises not put into practice.

  53. rhodri - tree officer permalink
    February 1, 2010 12:45 pm

    Hi All,

    i just picked up this most recent post i`m very busy sorting out our annual tree planting programme so sorry for not getting to it sooner.

    jean i`m sorry you feel that the views of local peopls and experts were not listened to, we do the best we can in terms of maintaining council owned trees. LBTH in-house experts all concur that the removal of the ivy was the only viable proposition; we also engaged an independent third party to conduct a safety review on the trees and this revealed that ivy removal was the viable option.

    Sometimes there are conflicting needs when it comes to tree management, but i`m sure i`ve made it clear that the reason the trees were cleared of ivy was purely for health and safety reasons

    if we were managing council owned trees for biodiversity reasons, we would have left the ivy on, but as you must appreciate in such a public place the health and safety of the trees is paramount!
    and of course we like to be sure that we have taken all reasonable steps to ensure that they are safe so our residents and all other users of Parks can enjoy them with trees that are regularly inspected and maintained growing there.

    I cant really comment on Islington`s practice, yet when i see their tree manager at the next london tree officers meeting, i`ll ask him what his view is on retaining ivy growing on council owned trees

    All in all i`m very happy with the work that our contractors have carried out at Arnold circus, we havent had to remove any trees and this always makes me happy.

    By the by we have started this years tree planting across the borough you might see new trees appearing, we are colour coding the top of each stake with green paint, we have selected native trees where possible for their nature value and we are using a more eco firendly style of tree planting to ensure lower impact on the environment

    rhodri

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