Tree planting fiasco: half a million have died next to one 21-mile stretch of road

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From Tallbloke’s Talkshop

April 18, 2023 by oldbrew 


A14 road

Competence got left behind in the rush to look climate friendly by absorbing a token amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide.
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The government agency responsible for our main roads, National Highways, has admitted that over half a million trees have died beside a single 21-mile stretch of new carriageway, reports Sky News.

They estimate the cost of replanting at £2.9m.

Many tree experts say this is symptomatic of a focus on tree planting over tree care. Only growing trees capture carbon or improve habitat.

The upgrade of the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon, cost £1.5bn and was opened in 2020.

A number of mature trees were destroyed during construction and planting new ones was part of the development consent order, the permission to build.

National Highways planted 850,000 saplings but three years later, Sky News has seen an internal review that points to ‘an unusually high fatality rate’ and reveals that three-quarters of them have died.

National Highways point to poor soil and extreme heat as the main causes.

But these “die-off” figures were compiled before last summer’s record temperatures and it is likely more saplings will have perished in that heatwave.

National Highways, declined to do an interview with Sky News but subsequently did publish a press release admitting “an unusually high failure rate among the planted trees” and added: “Replanting is expected to begin in October with the first batch of 162,000 trees already on order from a local nursery.

“All replanting work will be subject to a five-year establishment period.”

They also told us the cost of replanting will be around £2.9m. That’s taxpayers’ money.

Their internal document suggests the replanting plan will use more mulch to hold water, better tree guards, improved topsoil, and reviewing both the type of tree planted and the sapling’s age.

Full report here.