Agenda item


            The Committee was advised that, the Standard and Business Committee, at its meeting on 23rd November, had agreed that the following motion, which had been proposed by Councillor McMullan and seconded by Councillor Long, in accordance with Standing Order 37(h), be referred directly to the People and Communities Committee for its consideration:



Street Tree Planting


Noting this Council’s pledge to plant one million trees by 2035 and the

ongoing work to deliver that commitment on our own land, its declaration

of a climate emergency in October 2019 and our commitment to work

towards being carbon neutral by 2050. However, as highlighted in the

Belfast Carbon Roadmap Pathway to Net Zero we can close the gap by

2033 through a range of innovative interventions, including planting trees.

Therefore this Council commits to drastically increasing the number of

street trees across the Belfast. City Council area


Recognising that street tree planting is a function of the Department for

Infrastructure, we will write to the Minister to join us in making this

commitment and partner with us in drastically increasing their number

across the city.


Working with our partners we will establish a strategy and action delivery

plan (including maintenance), including setting a target for increasing the

number of street trees in each of the 60 wards that comprise the 10 district

electoral areas of Belfast City Council.


We will also write to the Minister for Infrastructure, as well as Ministers for

Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs and Communities, to establish

a rolling funding scheme for tree planting, maintenance and accompanying

structural works (e.g. footpath widening) to enable more sites to be viable

for street tree planting.


This Council will also join the new call for pledges to the UN Economic

Commission for Europe’s ‘Trees in Cities Challenge’ joining other cities

around the world including Barcelona, Bonn, Victoria (Canada) and

Mexico City to demonstrate our intent internationally and to learn from and

share learnings with other cities.”


            With the permission of the Chairperson, Councillor McMullan addressed the Committee and outlined the context of the motion. 


            The proposer agreed, at the request of Councillor Matt Garrett, to amend his proposal to provide for the following additional penultimate paragraph to the proposal:


As a further commitment to our pledge in supporting the ‘One Million Trees Initiative’ on Council land, that the Council commit’s, in 2022, to planting a number of suitable living Christmas Trees in publicly accessible locations in each quarter of the City. Members of Area Working Groups will be consulted on the sites and scale of trees (which may include more than one) and the Council will illuminate, maintain and work with community organisations in each quarter of the City in the creation of annual Community Christmas focal points and events.”


            A number of the Members spoke in support of the motion.  During discussion the need for careful planning regarding the location of any additional trees was highlighted to ensure that the locations were viable in terms of lighting, footpath width and to allow for adequate access to permit long-term maintenance.  The need for a simultaneous maintenance budget was also highlighted.


            The Committee adopted the motion with the addition of a paragraph seeking the planting of living Christmas trees and agreed that the proposals within the motion would be considered and progressed within the context of the City Tree Strategy which was currently being developed.


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