We're BANNED from planting trees to celebrate Queen's Platinum Jubilee in row with forest wardens – we're gutted
A BITTER row has broken out after villagers were banned from planting trees to celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee.
Residents in Burley, Hampshire, had hoped to dig in 12 oaks on grassland to commemorate the monarch's 70-year reign as part of a 125-year tradition – but killjoy national park wardens have scuppered the plans.
The Verderers of the New Forest, which protect and regulate agricultural practices, claim they rejected the application as it violates their policy.
Instead, they have told locals and the parish council they can plant just one tree.
Councillor Robert Clarke said he was "greatly disappointed" with the decision as the practice dates back centuries.
He said: "I was greatly disappointed and felt this had not really been thought through.
"It is a meaningful tradition but it is also important because of what is happening with climate change and the accepted role of trees in being part of the solution.
"Burley has been planting trees for Jubilees since 1897, which is when trees were planted to mark Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee."
The trees were to have been planted as part of the Queen's Green Canopy, an initiative created to mark Her Majesty's 70 years on the throne.
In a message last year, Prince Charles asked people to "plant a tree for the Jubilee… in other words, a 'tree-bilee'."
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Councillor Phillip Daubeney, chair of the parish council, was also disheartened as they had previously planted trees for the monarch's Silver and Golden Jubilees.
He said: "The Platinum Jubilee is quite extraordinary so we wanted to do something special.
"It is also important to do our bit for the planet and planting more trees helps combat climate change.
"When the plans were rejected, we were disappointed."
The Verderers say it is their policy to "almost always" reject consent for the planting of celebratory trees as they want to preserve land for grazing.
In a letter outlining their policy, the Verderers said: "The forest consists of a mosaic of habitats that is very rare and highly regarded in environmental terms, both for the variety of plant and wildlife the habitats sustain and for the carbon sequestered.
"Preservation of the grazing and vegetation on the Open Forest forms key parts of that mosaic of habitats and is a priority for the Verderers, as the livestock depend on that grazing and vegetation, and it is the livestock which delivers essential conservation benefits.
"It has been said in the past that surely trees can be planted in what is a forest, however, as explained, ‘forest’ does not accurately describe the New Forest and its extensive mosaic of habitats.
"The Verderers receive many requests for trees, plaques, seats et cetera to be planted or placed on the Open Forest.
"It is the policy of the Verderers to almost always refuse consent."
A spokesperson for the Verderers added: "The Verderers felt they could not approve Burley’s request for 12 trees, especially as it is quite possible that if approved, a significant number of further similar requests could be received.
"It would be unfair to agree to Burley and then turn down other parishes but to agree them all, could result in the loss of quite a few acres of grazing."
The Verderers said Burley Parish Council can apply to have just one tree planted.
Cllr Clarke added: "I plan to go along to the next Verderer’s Court meeting on March 16 and make a presentation for the allocation of a single tree.
"But I will also take the opportunity to point out that what we really want is 12 trees not just to mark the Queen’s Jubilee but also because there is a real need to replace trees fallen trees."
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