Tree Wardens wanted in Dartmouth
- Protect trees within conservation areas and those subject to a Tree Preservation Order (TPO)
- Work to raise public awareness about the benefits of trees
- Provide timely information to qualified colleagues on threats such as disease, decay or vandalism.
More information from Thelma Rumsey, Secretary South Hams Tree Wardens Network
Tree Wardens are volunteers who are united in their love of trees and hedgerows and want to conserve as many of them as they can within their parish or town. We also plant new trees wherever possible. The umbrella organisation for tree wardens is the Tree Council and they provide training manuals for any new tree warden and provide a wealth of information on their website www.treecouncil.org.uk.
The South Hams Tree Wardens are represented in most parishes (we have around 60 at the moment) some are extremely experienced and knowledgeable and some less so. I am the main contact for them all. For example if they come across a problem I can put them in touch with another tree warden who has the knowledge to help them.
Our main objective is to make sure we retain mature trees and established hedgerows within the South Hams. Any tree with a Tree Preservation Order or within the Parish/Town Conservation Area is protected. If any landowner wants to do work on such a tree they have to apply to SHDC tree office. The tree office then sends the notice of works to the Parish/Town Council for their comments BUT ALSO to the parish/town tree warden. We are, ideally, independent of the parish/town council but we do have many wardens who are parish councillors as well. We have a say in the planning process and as such have a good relationship with the tree office. This is our primary job as well as being aware of trees that do not have legal protection and that might be under threat. Often when houses/land are sold that have mature trees, and a bigger house or development is planned, trees can be seen as a liability. Being aware of the trees in our area we can ask for protection to be given if it looks as if a high amenity tree is threatened. We are basically extra pairs of eyes and ears for the tree office.
The loss of a mature tree is also the loss of the biodiversity associated with that tree. Planting new trees helps but the biodiversity on a 100 year old oak tree, and its ability to soak up carbon dioxide, cannot be equalled by replants.