More news following July’s success in getting Perth & Kinross Council to defer plans to cut down a historic 250-year old Scots pine tree, which stands as a memorial to two children who died in a tragic accident.
Things have moved on – the call for the tree to be given a Tree Protection Order has been turned down and its fate is likely to be decided on 21 August. You can give this tree a voice by writing to councillors in Perth and Kinross to encourage them to save it. Details are at the end of this post.
A Tree Protection Order
Unfortunately, the application for a Tree Preservation Order for the tree has been rejected by Perth & Kinross Council.
The Council admits that the tree does have historic and biodiversity value. However, they go on to claim that this is outweighed by the fact that there are “many high quality trees” in the area, so the loss of this individual tree will not have a significant impact.
We strongly disagree with this assessment; none of the local trees are of the same sort of status as this veteran. Also, much of its visual amenity value lies in the distinctive and striking element that it adds to the local landscape as a lone tree.
We’d also argue that 2011 Scottish Government Planning Guidance updates the key criteria for TPOs so that not just visual amenity should be considered the “primary factor”, but also amenity value and cultural and historic significance. This is something which Perth Council has not yet recognised.
Return of the Planning Committee
This means that when the Council’s Development Management Committee meet again on 21 August they will have to decide whether to save this tree by rejecting the plans, or to sacrifice it.
We hope that they will have in their report this time a detailed assessment from the Council’s Tree and Woodland Service on the health, condition and value of the tree. But we are also confident that the pupils and supporters of the school will continue to make their case for saving the tree as loudly as possibly.
You can give ancient Scots pine a voice and help to influence the council’s decision by writing to councillors to encourage them to save the tree.
If you’re a local resident – living in Highland, Strathallan, Strathtay, Kinross-shire, Almond and Earn, Perth City North or Perth City South wards – you can contact your local Committee members by August 20th to make your views clear.
If you aren’t based in these wards you can still help: contact the Convener of the committee and urge him to ensure the advice from the Tree and Woodland service is taken into account.
Charles Dundas, Public Affairs Manager