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December 1, 2022 10:10 AM

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Plymouth Liberal Democrats have come out in support of the STRAW campaign to save Armada Way's trees. At an Executive Meeting on Monday the newly elected Chair, Katie McManus, said, "As a party that has always been a leader on environmental issues the preservation of trees is vital. Apart from the pleasure a mature tree provides, they are essential to fighting the climate increase, reducing toxic pollution and providing a home for hundreds of birds and insects. We believe this green lung at the heart of Plymouth is a great contributor to the well-being of the people of this city and a highly valuable area of urban forest."

The LibDems considered the Council's report on the state of the trees and accept if any are severely diseased or likely to be a danger to the public then there may be a case to remove them. However, this should be done in a phased manner to ensure the continuity of canopy cover. The Council wants to remove 136 trees from Armada Way, a loss of 89% of the stock of this valuable ecosystem. The Chair added, "The city centre already suffers from a lack of greenspace, comparing poorly to many other British cities. Armada Way is in need of redevelopment, The old waterway is now a hazard rather than a pleasure, and recreating the central area as a walkway would be a bonus. But the current design is too damaging and another, more sympathetic approach, is needed."

The LibDems have seen an independent Arboricultural Assessment, prepared for STRAW, which states that the removal of the trees on Armada Way is at odds with Plymouth City Council's own policies. Their Plan For Trees was adopted in 2019, aiming to protect, promote, and enhance trees within the city. Plymouth must therefore increase its tree canopy cover across the city by 2% by 2034 . This is of particular importance in the city centre when tree canopy is already significantly lower.

Hugh Janes
Honorary President, Plymouth Liberal Democrats