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What is it like to look after more than 100,000 trees?

North East Lincolnshire Council is entering its busiest season of the year as the area’s trees take a battering from winter weather.

The council is responsible for more than 100,000 trees by the roadsides, in parks, cemeteries and in open spaces.

A planned programme of maintenance work by the council’s grounds maintenance teams keeps trees healthy and safe, with work prioritised depending on the risk the tree presents to public safety.

Trees under the council’s control are routinely checked to see if any work is needed.

Routine work and non-emergency work is usually carried out through the winter months to keep disruption to birds to a minimum.

Winter is a critical time as the weather worsens and storms and high winds can damage even healthy trees.

The council has an on-call team when a weather warning is issued. This means they could be called out any time, day or night to deal with a fallen tree.

If a lot of trees or branches have come down, the team can only deal with one issue at a time, so other areas may be cordoned off before making them safe.

The council is calling on people to only report emergency tree repairs during this busy season.

It often receives reports for tree work it doesn’t deal with, such as pruning, or removing trees due to reported shading, leaf litter, insect infestation, interference with television reception, overhanging or bird droppings.

At this time of year, the council can also receive calls about fallen leaves.

People can help by sweeping up leaves from footpaths outside their own homes, but please do not sweep them into the gullies as this blocks water from draining.

People can put the leaves in their garden waste bin (if they have one) or make compost out of them.

Councillor Matthew Patrick, portfolio holder for environment, said: “Trees are stressed at the moment because of the long, dry summer we have had.

“We must prioritise and deal with those that pose an immediate risk first to ensure they are in a safe condition.

“The volume of work is huge, so we have to put the biggest risks first.

“Even well managed trees can fall or lose branches, particularly during spells of bad weather. It is not always possible to replace fallen or felled trees.”

Councillor Steve Beasant, chairman of the overview and scrutiny committee, said: “Trees are hugely important in maintaining the quality of the landscape in North East Lincolnshire.

“They also provide important habitat for wildlife, with an oak tree supporting up to 400 species.

“As well as more than 100,000 trees to maintain, the council has a duty to look after two ancient woodlands – Bradley and Dixon Woods – which are at least 1,000 years old.

“Not all trees in public places are under the control of the council, some are privately owned and some fall under the control of other organisations.”

Roadside trees and those in high footfall areas might receive attention more quickly than those in a more remote location.

But if a problem with one of the council’s trees is severe, officers will act quickly regardless of its position.

If you spot a problem in between checks, we’d like to hear from you. Please use the online form at www.nelincs.gov.uk/environment-and-community-safety/clean-streets/grounds-maintenance to give us information we can act on.

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