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Climate change affecting trees

PUBLISHED: 15:12 27 March 2008 | UPDATED: 10:43 03 July 2010

CLIMATE change is creating a creeping threat to the trees and shrubs that bring a welcome shade of green to the borough's streets

While it may still be many years before oranges are blossoming in Great Yarmouth, rising temperatures are already having an impact on the environment.

CLIMATE change is creating a creeping threat to the trees and shrubs that bring a welcome shade of green to the borough's streets

While it may still be many years before oranges are blossoming in Great Yarmouth, rising temperatures are already having an impact on the environment.

GYB services tree and landscape officer Patrick Tabor is seeing first hand the damage global warming is causing.

“Maintenance costs are going up because of the warmer winter weather - pests and diseases are not getting wiped out and are doing a lot more damage to trees and shrubs,” he said.

“The seasons are not so sharply defined, and the heavy summer rains we have experienced in recent years can kill trees.

“It is already changing the

type of trees we are using; Magnolia's are being planted in Gorleston, which would not

have been considered a few years ago.

“Elsewhere there are even olives and citrus trees being grown in London and on the south coast.

“We have got to think what trees will be able to cope with the climate conditions in 20 or 30 years.”

Traditional street trees such as crab apple, cherry, rowan and limes could struggle to survive the impact of global warming, while specimens like pine do not lose so much water and cope better with drier conditions.

“The maritime environment here is still too inhospitable for the type of trees that are typically found in the Mediterranean, but it is an unfolding scenario,” added Mr Tabor.

Fears have been raised that spending cuts could mean the chop for many mature trees lining the borough's streets.

It follows the publication of a government report revealing a large reduction in urban tree planting in the 10 years to 2004.

A lack of funding was found to be the most significant threat to urban trees followed by the rising number of insurance claims council's faced for property damage and personal injury.

Street trees in the borough are maintained on behalf of Norfolk County Council by GYB services.

Conservative parliamentary candidate for Yarmouth Brandon Lewis said: “Trees are vital to the greening of Yarmouth's environment and improving quality of life.

Great Yarmouth's tree officers do a good job in difficult circumstances - yet the government's own report shows how Whitehall is failing to stop the spread of both the compensation culture and heavy-handed application of health and safety rules.”

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