Could Milton Keynes take ONE MILLION more trees?

The borough of Milton Keynes already has an estimated 22 million trees, but some councillors are keen to see one million MORE planted to help save the planet.

Friday, 25th October 2019, 6:52 pm

One councillor spoke about turning the borough into the “City Forest of Milton Keynes” during a debate on protecting and promoting the city’s animals and plants at which elected members were keen to flaunt their green credentials.

“This is around the climate emergency, and I agree there will be a number of difficult matters which will will have to bring forward,” said Cllr Martin Gowans (Lab, Bletchley East), who is the council’s planning and transport supremo.

“We do have to bring them forward, whether that’s trees of construction, or transport. They are difficult and we do need to face them because the stakes are too high not to.

An avenue of trees

“I like the idea of planting a million new trees. I would like to see a city forest of Milton Keynes.”

Cllr David Hopkins (Cons, Danesborough & Walton), chairs MK Council’s Climate Change Task and Finish Group, which will be presenting its recommendations and findings next year.

“We’re going to be suggesting and requiring things to be done which will be very difficult to sell to the people of Milton Keynes,” said Cllr Hopkins.

“This is an emergency. We have to be delivering a new deal for Milton Keynes which takes account of this emergency, but changes the way we live our lives if we are going to have a sustainable future.”

He added: “We need, I suspect, to plant a million new trees and have a new deal with developers, and have a new deal with the growth agenda. We have to do things differently.”

Cllr Vanessa McPake (Lib Dem, Monkston), who said she was named after a butterfly, warned the council to be careful over the choice of trees, to avoid large leaves blocking drains.

The entire council which met on Wednesday (Oct 23) supported the biodiversity motion presented by Cllr Dan Gilbert (Cons, Loughton & Shenley), which requires regular reports from officers. Cllr Gilbert is keen on protecting hedgehogs by the use of protected routes called “hedgehog highways.”

The parties were so united on the issue that Cllr Gilbert accepted an amendment from Labour’s Cllr Emily Darlington (Bletchley East), to make the motion more friendly to the administration.

Cllr Darlington, who holds the public realm portfolio, said that a paper will be coming to the council’s ruling Cabinet within weeks.

There were some disagreement over which party was the first to come up with the idea, but they all came together at the end of the debate to resoundingly shout “agreed”, and have the council’s position confirmed by Mayor Sam Crooks (Lib Dem, Broughton).