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Campaign groups demand protection for all trees on zoo site

Bristol Zoo trees photo Martin Booth 1600x900

 

Campaign groups across the city have joined forces in an attempt to save the trees at the former Bristol Zoo.

 

The groups including Avon Needs Trees, Bristol Tree Forum and Friends of the Earth want all of the trees on the Clifton site to be protected as plans continue for housing on the land.

Bristol Zoological Society, who remain committed to housing in order to help fund their move to Wild Place, stress that at least two new trees will be planted in place of each tree removed, as well as there being a 36 per cent biodiversity increase in the gardens which will be open to the public free of charge.

I am“motivated by concern that the environmental vandalism in Plymouth might be repeated in Bristol”, and asking for Tree Protection Orders (TPOs) to be placed on all trees on the Bristol Zoo site “with immediate effect”.

“Bristol of course, as the first and only Green Capital City in the UK, has a proud heritage of acting to protect its natural environment. Indeed, the Zoo Gardens have long been recognised as a potent symbol of the city’s biodiversity and ecological awareness,” says the letter.

“Bristol City Council’s opportunity here is to become a beacon of best practice in working with all stakeholders to ensure that precious, historic, civic assets are protected.

“Extending TPOs to all trees at Bristol Zoo Gardens would be a visible sign of such leadership.”

Photo credit to Martin-Booth Two visitors to Bristol Zoo during its last week in September 2022 after 186 years in Clifton

In a statement responding to the open letter, Dr Justin Morris, chief executive of Bristol Zoological Society, said: “At the start of planning we worked with Bristol City Council to secure 29 Tree Protection Orders to permanently protect well-loved trees on site, such as the monkey puzzle and wedding cake tree.

“While some tree removal is required, we will ensure at least two new trees are planted in place of each tree removed – meaning 470 new trees for the site.

“We are also committed to looking after the native plants on site and making improvements to the lake. This means there will be a 36 percent biodiversity increase in the gardens, which will be open, free of charge, for the first time ever, as a public park for Bristol.

“As a wildlife conservation charity, we were one of the first organisations in Bristol to publicly support the Ecological Emergency declared by the Council in 2020.

“While we appreciate there are strong emotions in Clifton, we still need to refer to the facts.”

Main photo: Martin Booth

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