‘Plant your own tree’ policy criticised as ‘leafy suburb subsidy’

Leeds Civic Hall.

By David Spereall, local democracy reporter

Leeds’ Liberal Democrats have criticised the Labour-run city council over a new urban tree planting scheme.

The local authority launched a pilot sponsorship scheme this week which will allow residents to pay £150 to plant a semi-mature tree on a nearby grass verge.

The overall costs of planting each tree will be heavily subsidised by the government-funded White Rose Forest, while the scheme itself will be driven by the charity Trees for Streets, in partnership with the council.

But local Lib Dems have attacked the move, which they’ve branded a “leafy suburb subsidy”, as they claim it will only benefit areas that are already full of trees and green coverage.

The Labour administration hit back, saying they were “astounded” by the criticism.

But Lib Dem group leader Stewart Golton said the £150 figure was “unaffordable to most people in Leeds in a cost-of-living crisis”.

His party colleague, Councillor Conrad Hart-Brooke added: “We are lucky that Leeds is a relatively green city, but some parts are greener than others, and this scheme effectively makes the city’s green gap wider by acting as a leafy suburb subsidy.

“I can’t see there being many customers in the city’s council estates that have a spare £150 to spend on a tree. As for those living on streets without a grass verge, they don’t even get a look in.

“Effectively, the council is promoting a scheme that offers public subsidy to enhance the neighbourhoods of the haves, and ignores the needs of the have-nots who live in areas with the least number of street trees.”

Launching the scheme earlier this week, the council suggested neighbours could crowdfund and club together to buy a single tree should they wish.

Responding to the Lib Dems’ comments, Councillor Mohammed Rafique, Labour’s executive member for environment, said: “I am astounded that the Liberal Democrats are criticising an initiative to increase the number of trees in the city.

“We know that not every street in Leeds will be suitable for a tree but we are encouraging local communities to consider one for those that are.

“We of course recognise the difficulties caused by the current cost-of-living crisis and we are not suggesting that individuals need to pay for these trees themselves.  Communities, schools and clubs can group together and fundraise if sponsoring a tree is something they would like to do.

“Every extra tree that is planted is beneficial to us all and I am disappointed that not everyone can recognise this.”

Sponsored content


  1. This latest farce thought up by corrupt politicians is yet another insult to the peoplem of Leeds who are punished every time some hare brained scheme like this is thought up under the latest political pretext of going green and saving the planet when in fact it is nothing more than a political ploy to justify oiut of control councils who have no real idea of what is really needed for the communities they are supposed to serve and are simply following the political machinations of their masters in whitehall!

    This council has actively cut down trees thatbhave died off in the natural process of all living things, trees that have been previoiusly nbadly nplanted by the councilk and have caused damage to footpaths and property boundaries and having ncut down these trees they have failed to replace the trees that this council has removed and when asked to replace the treesd they have removed have lied and deceived with excuses and absurd reasons put forward to justify not replacing them.

  2. Totally agree with Lib Dem’s and comments from above. Unnecessary chopping down of trees by LCC. What is happening now on Lawnswood roundabout?!? Underhand comes to mind. Is his the start of more tree desecration in the favour of more useless traffic measures?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.