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Tag: Our Environment

Ash Die-Back

Ash die-back

Our Disappearing Ash Trees

An incurable fungal disease, commonly called ash die-back, is killing many of our ash trees.  Affected trees may fall or lose large branches within the space of a few years.  Those close to roads, footpaths or bridleways are therefore a risk to the public. 

On Stinchcombe Hill

The Stinchcombe Hill Trust manages much of the land on the Hill.   At a recent meeting it discussed how to deal with ash die-back.  Felling diseased trees where the Cotswold Way passes through the woods on the west side of the Hill is a high priority. 

A group of ash trees on the English Heritage monument at Drakestone Point will also be removed.  Contractors will do the felling, but local volunteers will help with scrub clearance and stump treatment.  The volunteers meet on Wednesday mornings – contact Kath Hudson for more information.

In and around the Village

Ash die-back is not limited to closely packed woodland trees.  It is spreading elsewhere too.  Possibly you noticed some sickly trees on your walks or drives this summer.  A key sign is much less dense foliage than normal.   

The Parish Council has reported some diseased trees to landowners.  We all need to keep our eyes open though.  There is already some guidance on spotting ash die-back on the Parish website.

Some good news on funding

Ash trees are an important feature of the landscape in our part of Gloucestershire.  The Council for the Protection of Rural England has a fund to help us reduce the impact of the disease.  Funding has now been extended to the end of 2021. Parish Councils and community groups can apply for money to plant suitable replacement trees.  A maximum of £500 is available for each project. 

We need your help

Do you know a place in Stinchcombe parish made special by mature ashes?  Let the Parish Council know so together we can decide on one or more applications for funding.  It can be on public land or on private land visible to the public, as long as the landowner agrees.  

An Interesting Fact

Stinchcombe’s only officially recorded ancient tree happens to be an ash.  It is a pollarded specimen which is completely hollow.  The tree is close to the public footpath network in the Clingre area.  Its grid reference is 51°41’41.1″N 2°23’25.4″W.

Stinchcombes Ancient Ash
Stinchcombes Ancient Ash

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A38 Roundabout

The Missing Mile

The Roundabout on A38 at J13 of M5

Everyone must have seen the impressive road workings at the A38 roundabout. This is where the new canal is being put through. The Missing Mile refers to the section of the Stroudwater Navigation from the A38 to the Oldbury Brook. It was infilled when the M5 was built and the road from the A38 to the M5 J13 is actually built on the infilled canal.

Proposed new route of canal.

M5 Underpass

The next obstruction for the new canal is the M5 itself. Here there is an existing underpass for the River Frome. The plan is for a new concrete canal channel to be added alongside the river. However the level of the new canal would have to be lower than the normal river level. In order to achieve the required headroom for navigation. A consequence of this is that during flood events the canal channel would be unusable.

Cross-Section of proposed M5 underpass (not to scale)

Costs

The current estimated costs are £23M. However I cannot find a finish date at present.

Further Reading

If you are interested in the above I suggest the site Cotswold Canals in Pictures – Phase 1b Overview as the starting place. Also the Gloucestershire Highways – A38 Canal Bridges

Fascinating Fact

The Stroudwater Navigation is still a company owned by the current owners of the original 200 shares. A separate Trust owns just over half and runs the company. In 2005 the company leased the canal back to the then British Waterways for 999 years.

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Wotton Area C.A.N.

Wotton Area Climate Action Network

Wotton Area Climate Action Network or C.A.N. are a community-led Climate Action Group. Serving Wotton-under-Edge and the surrounding areas Wotton Area C.A.N. aims to help residents and businesses to reduce their carbon emissions. Towards a goal of helping the area become carbon neutral by 2030.

Wotton CAN news

Despite not being able to hold public meetings in person, Wotton CAN has lots to offer its supporters. To keep up with all news, subscribe to the free monthly newsletter – full of interest, useful tips and information on many Climate issues.

Also visit the website follow on Facebook or email

September 2020 Newsletter can be downloaded here

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Tree Protection in Conservation Areas

Stinchcombe Conservation Area

Many of us live within the Stinchcombe Conservation Area (see the area marked in green on the map). 

Protection for Trees

Not everyone realises that this gives automatic protection to any trees on our land above a certain size. You can also see it on this map. Cutting down, lopping or wilfully damaging a tree with a diameter of more than 75 mm at a height of 1.5 m above the natural ground level is an offence. Unless a Section 211 notice has been submitted to Stroud District Council (SDC).  The notice must be submitted at least 6 weeks before the work is carried out. To enable SDC time to consider it. 

Exceptions

  • a tree being felled solely to improve the growth of other trees must have diameter less than 100mm
  • SDC’s Planning Enforcement Policy states that consent is not required for dead, dying or dangerous trees
  • If a planning application that includes specified tree work. It can be treated as a Section 211 notice for works to trees immediately affected by the proposed development.

Replacement

Landowners have a duty to replace felled trees with another tree of an appropriate size and species, in the same place, as soon as they reasonably can. SDC has the power to enforce this duty or to grant a dispensation in response to a written request.

Enforcement

SDC’s Planning Enforcement Policy puts complaints involving protected trees into the “Priority Complaints – Requiring Immediate Investigation” category.  They have six months to bring a prosecution. This could lead to a fine of up to £20,000 in the magistrates’ court or an unlimited fine in the Crown Court. In many cases they may negotiate remedial works with the landowner or issue an informal warning rather than prosecute.

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