Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Labour making no progress on street trees

At yesterday's Quality of Life Scrutiny Commission, it was revealed that the Labour administration is making no actual progress on increasing the number of street trees in the city.

Bristol has a cross-party agreement to double the number of street trees (not in parks or gardens) by 2017, from 10,000 to 20,000. This year's budget, which Labour have trumpeted as a big step forwards, is £105k, which will pay for around 700 trees. Of these 200 will be street trees, but nearly all of these will be replacements for old, diseased or subsiding trees. The net increase this year will effectively be zero - no extra trees towards the 10,000 target.

Labour, Conservatives and the Green Party all voted against the Lib Dem budget amendment to pump an extra £200k a year into increasing the number of street trees back in February. This would plant around an extra 1,000 per year. I spoke in favour of this plan, but was crudely patronised by Labour's Ron Stone who tried to tell me that Labour had it all in hand and that I didn't know what I was talking about. I did - and yesterday's report proved it.

The fact of the matter is that in its 30 year reign, Labour put practically nothing into improving the city's tree stock and we are now reaping the consquences of this, with many trees not having been maintained properly.


Anonymous said...

Your budget amendment - wasn't that the one where you were going to sack home care workers and replace them with trees? (or at least that is how I remember Tories/Labour objecting to it)

I remember going into the budget meeting thinking I would support it, and voting against it because I was unconvinced what was going to be lost.

Doubtless my vote has appeared in a million LibDem leaflets, but a more serious approach would surely be to argue all this out prior to the meeting....so that you go in to it with a full grasp of the facts, rather than the usual Bristol 'winging-it' approach


Neil Harrison said...

Charlie - tsk! You know very well that it wasn't about home care workers. It was about slimming the senior management of the Council. The full motion can be found at http://www.bristol-libdems.org.uk/files/LD%20Amendment%202.pdf.

Incidentally, the new Chief Exec came in and effectively implemented this policy without a murmur from the other two parties. The only difference was that the money didn't then go to the environment, but just into the big council pot.

I do basically agree with your wider point though about discussion though. As it happens in this instance it would not have made any difference as Labour and the Tories had already carved it up in smoke-filled rooms to which neither of us had access!

kiko said...

I'm looking foward to the next update!