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!”.