Paper petition details

12-14 Baylis Road - Prevent Removal of Trees

We the undersigned petition the council not to cut the trees down outside 12-14 Baylis Road

They are lovely mature trees. Not only are they very attractive but also trees help to combat the very high level of pollution in this area.

On reaching 1 signatures An officer will investigate the matter further

This Paper petition was received on 14/02/2019.

700 people signed this Paper petition.

Council response

Dear Madam

The three silver birch trees on Baylis Road are only scheduled to be removed to make the junction with Waterloo Road much safer for cyclists. Given our commitment to keep people who cycle safe, unfortunately it is not possible to deliver this cycle safety improvement scheme without felling the trees on the footway outside 12 – 14 Baylis Road.

Lambeth Council has a policy of only felling a tree as last resort. Of the three at the eastern end of Baylis Road, independent tree specialists have recommended that the one nearest Spur Road should be felled due to its deteriorating health. Accordingly, irrespective of any proposed highway improvements this tree will need to felled in the near future. This will leave two trees that are less than four metres apart. This proximity means that both trees are competing for the same water and nutrients in the ground. This competition is why the smaller tree has barely grown in the last 7 years and is considerably smaller than a silver birch of this age should be. In time, this competition is likely to lead to the water demand of the larger tree causing the smaller tree to die. Whilst it is not possible to estimate when this will be, we did take this eventuality into account when looking at ways to make cycling on Baylis Road safer when approaching the junction with Waterloo Road.

Accordingly, when we started looking at what was possible we made retention of the easternmost tree a firm constraint and retention of the middle tree as a “desirable” constraint.

The high number of cyclists going straight ahead combined with the high number of motor vehicles turning left means that to make the junction safer, the two traffic streams have to be separated with each having their own “green” time. Our designers looked at many road realignments that could achieve this while retaining the two trees but none met the minimum safety criteria in terms of lane width and footway width. This left the council with the choice of whether to fell the trees and improve road safety or retain the trees and accept the hazard that we believe has contributed to 5 cyclists being injured at this junction in the 5 years ending 31st May 2018.

The council recognises the importance of ensuring there is no overall loss in the number of trees in the area and has a policy of planting at least one new tree to replace any we fell as a result of highway improvements. So following consultation with the council’s arboricultural officer, the junction improvements include planting six new trees in the immediate area, thereby doubling the number of trees at this end of Baylis Road. We have ordered the largest trees that our contractor can plant and proposed tree locations are being checked against ground surveys which show existing underground utilities, and the council’s arboricultural officer is in the process of selecting the species most suitable for each.

Yours faithfully

Councillor Claire Holland
Cabinet Member for Environment and Clean Air