Agenda item

ENFIELD CHASE RESTORATION PROJECT - WOODLAND CREATION IN ENFIELD

a.    Update from Officers (5 minutes)

b.    Questions & Answers (20 minutes)

Minutes:

RECEIVED an update from Graham Campbell, Senior Engineer, Place Department on the Enfield Chase Restoration Project – Woodland Creation in Enfield.

 

NOTED:

 

i)             The overall vision was to create a long-term, multi-functional, publicly accessible, sustainable woodland within the rural area of Enfield in order to benefit the local community and improve the environment of Enfield.

ii)            A concept plan will be submitted as part of a Woodland Creation Design Plan by Enfield Council to the Forestry Commission. This is a process which ensures that the woodland is being designed appropriately and meets UK Standards.

iii)           Once this process is complete it is anticipated that the woodland will be delivered in phases over the coming years, with direct funding from the Forestry Commission and the Greater London Authority.

iv)           It was proposed that the project will initially start in the Salmons Brook Valley, however discussions are still ongoing with tenant farmers in this area.

v)            The woodland will be guided by a series of overarching design principles including:

·         Woodland will be composed of mixed native species, predominantly broadleaf with some woody shrub, conifers and riparian species where appropriate. A core of productive species will provide long-term sustainability.

·         Species mix and layout will aim to look and feel natural – for example, by avoiding grid planting and softening edges with mixed species.

·         The open character of the Salmons Brook valley will be retained by incorporating natural flood management features like ponds and wetlands and allocating some areas of natural regeneration.

·         The historic context of the area will be preserved and enhanced, with key views identified and protected.

·         Space for amenity features such as footpaths, glades and picnic areas will be incorporated.

·         Varying planting densities with lower concentrations of planting in the vicinity of footpaths, other amenity spaces and woodland edges.

vi)           Information was provided on the main features which would include up to 100 hectares of new woodland including planting and natural regeneration, planting design to consider ecology, local history, landscape, drainage and silviculture, improvement of up to 3km of existing footpath along the London Loop to enhance access for walking, running and cycle, features of interest within the design, including a degree of volunteer planting events.

 

Following Graham’s update, the following questions and comments were raised:

Q.  Will this proposed project all take place on Council owned land?

A. Yes, this is the plan.

 

Q.  What are the timescales for this project?

A.  Discussions have been ongoing for some time and we are currently moving through the process with the Forestry Commission. Once the Concept Plan has been approved and funding is in place work will start fairly quickly and it is envisaged that planting will commence next Winter.

 

Q.  Is this going to be new woodland and how extensive is this in terms of other areas in the borough?

A.  The plan that we are speaking about relates to the Salmons Brook Valley, notwithstanding this there will always be opportunities for creation of woodland areas in other parts of the borough.

 

Q.  How many trees are envisaged to be planted as part of this plan?

A.  We are aiming to plant 60,000 trees in 60 hectares during the next two planting seasons.

 

Q.  How much of this land is currently productive agriculture land? We have plantations that are ready to be chopped down and turned into timber. Are there plans to replace plantations like Williams Wood with natural species?

A.  With regards to Salmons Brook Valley, what we do know is that part of the fields that run down are very wet therefore productivity is quite low. We are currently working with tenant farmers to discuss where it is most appropriate to carry out the planting so that it doesn’t affect productivity. Williams Wood would be looked at as a possible option.

      Action: Graham Campbell, Senior Engineer

 

Q.        There is a lot of existing woodland in Enfield that isn’t being effectively managed. How are you therefore going to manage and sustain new woodland when you don’t manage what we have already?

A.        We are currently looking at management options and where this will best sit within the council.

 

Residents raised further comments on various issues including the access path from Botany Bay Farm, more planting at Sloemans Lane and the possibility of planting some fruit trees or giving some more land to farmers for orchards. Graham agreed to take these comments on board and said that he would be happy to talk to residents at the end of the meeting to discuss any individual issues.

Action: Graham Campbell, Senior Engineer

 

Councillor Alessandro Georgiou highly recommended that the Council speak to the Friends of Trent Park regarding their ‘Volunteer Days’ which was a great way of engaging with the public. He also suggested adding Berkley Homes to the stakeholder list due to their experience with Trent Park. Graham agreed to do this.

Action: Graham Campbell, Senior Engineer

 

Councillor Tolga Aramaz said that he would like to see a strategy to ‘green up’ residential areas in the borough such as Edmonton, and that it is not just restricted to the Green Belt.

 

The Chair thanked Graham for his interesting and informative update and looked forward to hearing how the project progresses