LABOUR AM, KEN SKATES, has welcomed news that Welsh Government officials are looking into greater support for ancient trees following the collapse of the Pontfadog Oak in Wrexham last week.
Last week the 1,200 year old Pontfadog Oak collapsed in high winds, but experts believe the tree could have been saved if more support had been put in place earlier.
Responding to a question from local AM Ken Skates in the Senedd on Tuesday, the First Minister said officials in the Welsh Government and Natural Resources Wales were examining if Tree Preservation Order legislation needed to be strengthened and whether better advice could be provided to landowners with ancient trees on their property.
Clwyd South AM KEN SKATES said:
“Though it comes too late to save the Pontfadog Oak, I’m pleased the Welsh Government and Natural Resources Wales are looking at how we can support our ancient, veteran and heritage trees.
“Last year I joined Coed Cadw in calling for a strengthening of Tree Preservation Order legislation and to ask that more advice and support is made available for private owners who have ancient trees on their land. I am hopeful that we can now move forward on this agenda.
“Protecting these important parts of our local history is worth doing because they help us tell the story of Wrexham.
“Though we have now lost the Pontfadog Oak, there are a significant number of ancient and veteran trees, particularly around Chirk and at the Grade 1 Listed Capability Brown gardens in Ruabon, some of them many hundreds of years old.
“Unfortunately too many of our most precious ancient trees are at risk of being felled without penalty. There have been all too many occasions in the recent past where vitally important trees have been felled unnecessarily and may well have been saved had the legislation been stronger.
“The fact that officials in the Welsh Government and Natural Resources Wales are now looking at the issue is a start and I will be monitoring the issue over the next few months.”