Plymouth Labour is launching a bold plan to “green” the city centre should it take control of the council in May.
Labour says there are “multiple” lessons to be learned in the wake of the way the Conservative administration dealt with the felling of the Armada Way trees, not least how to engage with the public and other interested groups on such important decisions.
“We have been working hard on this plan for some time and the way the Conservatives went about chopping down the trees has only strengthened our commitment to ensure the city centre becomes as green as possible over the coming years,” said Cllr Tudor Evans OBE, leader of Plymouth Labour.
“There are multiple lessons to be learned from this whole debacle and we will be keeping the remaining trees. But we will be going much further than that: at the very least we should be putting many more trees, many as mature as possible, back into the city centre than have been removed. And we are clear we will be planting proper trees, not whips and saplings.
“Vital to doing this right is consultation on the type and species of trees and we are pledging to work with key groups in the city such as the Plymouth Tree Partnership so they can help inform decisions about what trees should go where. We will also work with the City Centre Company and local businesses on the scheme.
“But this plan isn’t limited to trees, we’d like to see all the new bus shelters in the city centre have green roofs with meadow planting on them. Labour already amended the council budget in February to double the amount spent on wildflower meadows in the city.”
The group is also launching Plan Bee, a Labour council will work with bee-keeping groups to introduce more beehives into the city centre with the aim of making Plymouth the bee capital of Devon.
Plymouth Labour councillors will work with schools, volunteer and community groups to protect city centre bee habitats and install bug hotels.
Labour also plans to explore options to create biosolar green roofs above car parks in and around the city centre and buildings in council-owned business parks.
“This is a bold plan,” said Cllr Evans. “It’s part of our ongoing commitment to strengthening the council’s net zero ambitions. We have heard the message from residents and businesses in the city loud and clear, a greener city centre is what we all want and a Labour-run council will deliver that.”