Richard Willis's Blog

First for local news and first for comment

New Trees Planted in Reading

Back in June last year I was pleased to take the new administration’s Tree Strategy to Full Council. It set out the Council’s aim to improve the appearance of Reading by planting hundreds of new trees and replacing many that have reached the end of their natural lives. In a time when all budgets are under great pressure it is good to be able to report that the tree planting budget has been completely protected. This means that there is £50,000 for tree planting this municipal year and another £50,000 next year.

To support the Tree Strategy the Council has been working with other organisations like “Trees for Cities” to set up a network of tree wardens. These are people who volunteer to monitor local trees, water them and let the Council know of any obvious problems. This scheme has been enthusiastically adopted by many people across the Borough who have been delighted that the Council is placing such a high priority on making the Borough a better place for everyone.

In the last couple of weeks I have joined local people to celebrate new lime trees on the Oxford Road, new cherry trees in Caversham Heights, and today we planted 20 new plane trees along Richfield Avenue. The event was publicised to all Councillors and registered tree wardens but even the organisers were amazed at how many people turned up to help. Both Reading MPs came along to lend their support and I counted 10 Conservative Councillors present. We were not just there for a photo opportunity. I and colleagues rolled up our sleeves and got on with digging holes about 2-3 feet deep and across. Then we had to hammer in the big stakes that would support the tree, before positioning the tree and backfilling the hole. It was quite hard work as the ground was very hard but even some of my older colleagues got stuck in to help digging the hole and shovelling earth.

Planting trees is an undoubted good thing which will leave a serious legacy for future generations. We benefit hugely from the legacy left to us by out Victorian and Edwardian forebears and I am very proud that we are leaving a similar legacy for our successors. It is rare as a politician to be able to point to something tangible that we have done but in this case I feel ownership of the tree that I helped to plant today. In years to come I can point to it and say “I did that!”.

Conservative Councillors work hard


February 5, 2011 - Posted by | Local


  1. I love trees. Well done! Now write to Alok and Rob and tell them to oppose the sell-off of our Forestry Commission land. That would be an even better environmental benefit for us all.

    Comment by Jonny | February 5, 2011 | Reply

    • Jonny – you make the mistake of assuming that non-government ownership means no trees. The majority of forests in the UK currently are privately owned and managed!!

      Comment by Richard Willis | February 5, 2011 | Reply

  2. Great work with the trees! But don’t always make a dig at Labour < note the pun, your starting to always just attack Labour.

    Comment by Lawrence | February 5, 2011 | Reply

  3. Must admit Richard, even before I read the post in its entirity, I was wondering what Page, Ayub and Tickner(?) were doing there, hands in their pockets…They do look a bit miffed I must say! Of course in the good old days, they did not have to turn up to anything to get votes.

    Comment by Jazz | February 5, 2011 | Reply

  4. Oh good, a caption competition!

    Comment by Shaun | February 6, 2011 | Reply

  5. If we’re going to properly bury the Libdems, we’re going to need a bigger hole.

    Comment by Jonny | February 7, 2011 | Reply

  6. How about ‘Conservatives in Libdem clothing’ Shaun.

    Comment by Howard Thomas | February 12, 2011 | Reply

  7. How about’more “buried bodies” uncovered’ Howard.

    Comment by Elaine | February 13, 2011 | Reply

  8. Ooh! New caption! “After we’ve put it in the hole, does Carolinus Spelmanii need watering?”

    Comment by Jonny | February 17, 2011 | Reply

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