A threat to the iconic Grantham Oak

Grantham Oak is prime example of why street trees need more protection and regulation (Photo: WTML)
Grantham Oak is prime example of why street trees need more protection and regulation (Photo: WTML)

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I drive past the Grantham Oak on my way to and from work and each day I am humbled by its majesty. I was therefore horrified to see heavy plant equipment situated close to its magnificent trunk last week.

Although at first glance it may look innocuous, placing heavy loads around ancient trees can weaken their root systems. Damaging these precious root systems leads to issues for the rest of the tree, jeopardising its stability and health. This was further compounded by the digging of a trench worryingly close to its root system.

After members of the public alerted us to these issues, we contacted planning enforcers at South Kesteven District Council (SKDC) of the issue. They were quick to take action – sending out a Tree Officer to the site the same day to assess the works and what impact it was having.

The tree officer acknowledged that the utility company (Anglian Water) had failed to perform their duty of care to the tree and told them to move their heavy plant equipment. Thankfully Anglian Water were forced to take responsibility and move their equipment away from the tree.

As I work on the Woodland Trust's ‘Street Trees’ project I am obviously very passionate about our new urban focus to celebrate and protect our street trees. This ancient oak tree deserves all the protection it can get.

While we were able to work quickly with SKDC to protect one of Grantham’s most iconic trees, it doesn’t always go so smoothly for the rest of the UK’s street trees – just look at the situation in Sheffield! That’s why we need you to look out for your trees and let us know if street trees in your area ever face similar issues.

Do you have special trees near you?

By participating in the Woodland Trust’s new urban focus, the ‘Street Trees’ project you can help us in our work towards the awareness, celebration and protection of our valuable street trees.