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To: Rushmoor Borough Council

Save 237 trees from the Farnborough Civic Quarter Development

We are objecting to the wholesale and unnecessary destruction of trees which would take place if Rushmoor Borough Council's current plan for the development of Farnborough Civic Quarter goes ahead.

This will include 43 mature oaks which are over 40 years old and 3 Red Oaks which are over 15m tall. A mature Weeping Willow would also be cut down, which Rushmoor Borough Council's own report says is, “a large significant tree, suited to (it's) surroundings”. A Giant Redwood which is over 20m tall and over 40 years old, which is described as, “a very large, significant tree” is also due for destruction.

In line with the Rushmoor Local Plan 2014-2032, it is recommended that mature trees are retained and protected where possible and that a programme of planting new trees, comprising native species and species which offer a value to wildlife, is undertaken. Retained trees should be protected within the final development in accordance with British Standard (BS) 5837; Trees in Relation to Design, Demolition and Construction. Furthermore, in line with local policy NE3, it is recommended that a Landscape and Ecological Management Plan (LEMP) is produced, to ensure appropriate management and maintenance of new and retained habitats.

RBC's Local Plan (policy NE4) also states that any proposed development that poses, 'significant harm to biodiversity, should be avoided, or if that is not possible adequately mitigated'. The mitigation suggested - planting of sapling after development - is unacceptable, as with the loss of these mature trees, habitat and biodiversity is lost, and the will release the stored carbon dioxide each tree has gathered over its life time, which would be up to 48 lbs of CO2 for each year it has lived.

Why is this important?

Many of the trees to be cut down are mature trees, and these provide a wide array of benefits to us all:

1. Trees provide shade. In an urban environment trees are important to combat the urban heat-island effect (which heats our towns and cities), which will become increasingly important as climate change means we will experience more extreme weather events including heat-waves.

2. Mature trees absorb Carbon Dioxide a Greenhouse gas that accelerates climate change. Destroying mature trees means the loss of carbon sinks, which help to combat climate change. Trees For Life estimate that 6 mature trees offset 1 tonne of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) per year, Oaks are particularly good at absorbing CO2 and it takes 30-40 years before Oaks grow big enough to start absorbing significant amounts of CO2, so RBC's plans to plant lots of trees will have little effect in terms of helping to cut down emissions for quite some time. The CO2 stored in the 46 mature oaks set to be cut down, equates to around 7,636 kilos each year. Added to this, when a mature tree is cut down CO2 is actually released.

3. Decrease in Air Quality. Another consequence of the removal of these trees will be a decrease if the air quality in central Farnborough, on a site very close to the airport. Emissions (CO2, Carbon Monoxide, Nitrogen Dioxide and Carbon particulates) from road and air traffic will therefore have a bigger impact on residents than at present, and the new trees that are planted won't make up for this loss for around 30-40 years. Air pollution can cause serious breathing problems, especially in the young. Ella's Law is likely to be adopted in the very near future, after the death of Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah's death in 2013. In 2021 a coroner called for a change in the law to make local authorities responsible for air pollution -https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-56801794

4. Noise pollution. Trees help to buffer sound, so people living in the town centre, including in the new development, will be adversely affected by this.

5. The beneficial effect of nature on mental health. It's a well established fact that a lack of trees and green spaces has a negative effect on people's mental health. Under the current plans there are very limited opportunities for green spaces between all the bricks and concrete of the new development. Proximity to nature, particularly trees, is thought to have a positive effect on the brain's ability to produce cortisol and, as a result deal with stress, anxiety and depression. People often love and appreciate the trees in their locality and the wildlife (birds, butterflies and insects) that they encourage and support.

6. Loss of biodiversity and habitat for wildlife. Trees, Oak tress in particular, provide a habitat which supports around 300 species, including indigenous and visiting birds, butterflies and insects.

Overall this development that puts many trees at risk would increase the impacts of climate change and loss of wildlife loss already happening in our area, and this is unacceptable.

Farnborough, UK

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Updates

2022-11-20 08:18:12 +0000

1,000 signatures reached

2022-10-25 09:34:14 +0100

500 signatures reached

2022-06-05 22:49:50 +0100

100 signatures reached

2022-05-31 07:35:17 +0100

50 signatures reached

2022-05-30 17:09:04 +0100

25 signatures reached

2022-05-30 12:52:49 +0100

10 signatures reached