We look after trees on the strategic road network in Wales to make sure that they are kept in a good condition and do not make the highway unsafe.
We try to keep as many trees as possible. However, sometimes removal is the most appropriate course of action to ensure the public's safety.
The trees are showing signs of decline, many are hazardous and a number have previously died due to the constraints they are growing in. The splayed roots and lifted paving near the trees indicates that when they were originally planted, they were put straight into the ground, with little to guide the roots. The planting system was inadequate for both the trees and the surrounding infrastructure.
Routine tree survey showed various problems e.g:
- The trees are unstable and have dead branches which could cause significant hazards.
- They are reducing visibility by covering signs.
- Their roots are causing potential trip hazards by lifting metal grilles and making the pavement uneven.
- Surfacing and metal grilles around the trunks are restricting and damaging the trees.
Due to the age of the trees and the levels of decline it was decided that replacing damaged and declining trees would be more successful. Street trees often do not live as long as rural trees due to the constraints they are growing in.
This also presents a good opportunity to create a more diverse ecosystem by planting as many tree species as possible and creating a raised planting area of wildflowers around the base of each tree.
Works have already started to remove hazardous trees which require urgent removal before they cause harm. The remaining trees will be replaced over the course of two years.
The North and Mid Wales Trunk Road Agent and Welsh Government are working with a local tree group to create a collaborative partnership to replace and improve the trees as well as developing a long-term management plan to protect them.
All 30 street trees have been assessed as to whether they can be retained or are in need of replacement. A project is now starting which will look at the design and implementation of replacements and this will also consider timescales for replacements.
The specification for the replacement trees will be for “standard” sized trees or larger. These are larger sized trees suitable for planting as street trees.
The majority of the trees are being kept until work starts as part of a the wider tree strategy.
However, some trees and grilles are being removed imminently due to safety related issues. Where the grille is removed and the tree remains, the space left behind will be filled with planings. This is a temporary measure until a permanent surface appropriate for street trees is installed as part of the wider project.
There is a public consultation planned in February 2022 to work out a long term plan to replace the trees. Further updates will be provided in due course.