As part of our ongoing commitment to tackling climate change and improving the local environment, new trees will be planted along Shiphay Avenue in Torquay.

Following discussion with local residents and the Community Partnership, the existing cabbage palms will be removed and replaced with 37 new Sweetgum trees (Liquidambar styraciflua), which will be more sustainable and better for the local environment in the long term. The scheme is being funded from mitigation money received as part of the ongoing Torbay Hospital development and not from Council Tax or our revenue budget.

Keeping the palms is not considered sustainable owing to various decayed areas within the stems of several of the palms, and the low carbon storage value associated with the palms. 

This also follows the recent news that 150 Giant Redwood Trees (also known as Wellingtonia and Sequoiadendron giganteum) will be planted along Riviera Way. These were also chosen for their long term sustainability and the ability to store carbon, as well as complementing existing trees planted in the area in the early 1990s.

Councillor Mike Morey, Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Environment and Culture for Torbay Council said: “We are very pleased to announce this latest tree planting scheme, which demonstrates once again that the Council is committed to long term sustainability and fighting climate change.

“The Sweet gum trees will be able to be able to 'sequester' more carbon over the medium to long term, thus supporting our commitment to the Devon Climate Emergency by having trees that are better for the local environment and are fit for future generations.

“Our Community and Corporate Plan outlines our plans to become a Carbon Neutral Council and work with others to create a carbon neutral community.”

The work is expected to begin at the end of this month.

Devon Climate Emergency

We have declared a ‘climate emergency’ and are a member of the Devon Climate Emergency Response Group (DCERG), a group of 25 influential public sector bodies, councils and business organisations who are working together to reduce carbon emissions and create a Devon Carbon Plan – a road map to carbon neutrality.

The Interim Devon Carbon Plan is currently out for public consultation.

Benefits of tree planting include:

  • Improving air quality
  • helping keep our homes cool
  • provide timber, wood and fibre products
  • offer opportunities for people to reconnect with nature
  • provide spaces to improve health and wellbeing
  • help to reduce flood risk
  • reduce the costs of water treatment

A spokesperson for Devon Climate Emergency said: “Well-designed new woodlands will not only contribute to storing CO2 but deliver a wide range of other benefits too. Trees perform a vital role as natural carbon capture and storage machines. Woodlands absorb CO2, removing it from the atmosphere, and lock it away in their trunks, roots and surrounding soils.”

“Sustainably managed woodlands aren’t just carbon sinks. Trees filter pollutants providing cleaner air, lower the temperatures of urban areas and reduce flood risk by intercepting rainfall. Planting new woodland is a crucial step in helping Devon reach net-zero emissions, and one that will continue to benefit society for centuries to come.”

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