- The London Borough of Bromley has over 36,000 street trees and thousands more private trees overhanging the highway. Last year we removed over 2,000 tonnes of leafing detritus from the borough’s expansive highway network.
- Leafing starts on 26th September 2022, which is slightly earlier than previous years. Timing of the leafing programme is delicate but predicated somewhat on allowing a degree of leaf fall prior to commencement. This is to minimise the amount of return and repeat visits necessary because of the ubiquitous and prolonged nature of leaf fall across the borough as balanced against the finite resource we have to manage it. If it starts too early, then we are likely to have significant accumulations after the programme concludes.
- Over the years we have produced an indicative week by week programme. This was chiefly populated using a variety of data sources including arboricultural data, public enquiry volumes and locations, historical tonnage information, and client officer monitoring data and referrals. This programme is then refined each new season, using contemporaneous data, in conjunction with our Veolia colleagues to ensure resources are directed appropriately in order to best respond to local needs. Each week’s plan of action will include a number of highway locations but with some in-built resiliency to facilitate additional locations at short notice. The priority for leaf clearance will be given to footway and hardstanding areas, which means grass verges may not be cleared until subsequent attendances. It is inevitable that some locations will require more than one visit so whilst we try to optimise the timing of each time we do attend, it should be noted that the leafing crews do not operate a ‘clear all’ service in the sense of delivering an ‘A’ grade outcome per the Code of Practice we monitor against; rather, we expect leafing crews to achieve removal of the vast bulk, with the finesse and attention to detail being delivered by baseline crews.
- As leaf fall is already apparent across the borough due to the ‘false Autumn’, we have commissioned a pre-leafing crew that started on 5th September 2022 for three weeks in order to get a head start on removals and ensure minimal bulk accumulations remain in situ. We have predicated the crew’s work plan primarily on a list of publicly maintained Horse Chestnut trees provided by our Arb colleagues, as these are typically the ones to shed leaves first, and we’ve asked Veolia to use this is a rough starting point (noting however that this data will not account for private trees overstretching the highway so we will need to be vigilant to this). As with the principle leafing programme, this data will be coupled with various other sources as above to enable a targeted approach early on. An update from Veolia relayed a weight of 900kg of leafing detritus being removed on the first two days.
- In terms of leafing enquiries, from 01 August to date we have received 13 enquiries under the subject code ‘IS18 (Leafing)’ from the public via our reporting channels, indicating that we are in a strong position leading into Autumn.
- Members and their constituents are invited to use our reporting channels via FMS to raise any areas of concern. This is the best way to report issues to us as this will automatically route through to the service provider for intervention in the most efficient manner, as well as yield a unique reference with auditable history that will count towards our statistics as well as be captured for posterity.
London Borough of Bromley