Norfolk trees to be tagged

Tara GreavesA nature lover is hoping a tagging scheme will take root in the Norwich area - but it is not criminals she is interested in.Tara Greaves

A nature lover is hoping a tagging scheme will take root in the Norwich area - but it is not criminals she is interested in.

Tracy Ball, assistant conservation officer at Broadland Council, is branching out with the scheme which will eventually see more than 1,500 trees in the district fitted with a silver disc and plotted using a Global Positioning System (GPS).

Trees in all council owned or managed amenity sites - areas of open space designed to provide a pleasant outlook, such as in housing developments - are being tagged and notes about their condition and age are also recorded.

'In the past we had a rough idea of what stock we had as they were plotted by hand on a map but we purchased a GPS system as a better way of keeping a record of the trees and specifically plotting where they are,' said Tracy, who had to take a break from tagging during the wintry weather.

'It means if members of the public phone in about a particular tree they can tell us the number and we can locate it and find out what data we already hold on it.'

She began tagging in June as part of her other conservation duties and hopes to be finished by the start of next year.

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The trees will then be inspected every year or two, depending on their age and condition, and the information kept up to date.

'I am concentrating on tagging the mature trees first because they are more at risk. There are about 91 amenity sites and I have done about 28 so far,' said Tracy, who has worked in the conservation department for nine years.

The council is planning to plant more trees in the district this year and can use the information already collected to find out where they are best positioned.

The amenity site trees are in addition to those being tagged and plotted as part of an overall review of all tree preservation orders in the district.

Eventually residents and developers will be able to tell instantly on-line whether trees in their area are protected.

Andrew Proctor, portfolio holder for planning policy and conservation, said: 'Accurately plotting the position and condition of these trees will help us organise any necessary maintenance work and make sure they're kept in a safe condition. It will also be easier to tell which trees are reaching the end of their lives so we can plan to replace them where possible.'

Are you doing something amazing for the environment? Call Tara Greaves on 01603 772446 or email

A chance to have your say on how Norwich should deal with climate change is on offer in a new online survey.

The Norwich Independent Commission on Climate Change (NICCC), which is made up of key local figures, has put together a survey covering seven core areas.

Answers will be used to plan for how people in the city will learn about and deal with the impacts of global warming in the future.

Brian Morrey, chairman of the NICCC and Norwich City Council deputy leader, said: 'Its purpose is to seek views of local people on the possible impacts of climate change and how the city council, other organisations and local people might better prepare for a more sustainable future, particularly including ways to reduce future emissions of greenhouse gases.'

To take part in the survey log on to, click on the A-Z of services and select the E for eco issues. Click the NICCC button and the survey is available via the link at the bottom. A limited number of paper copies are also available via Megan Davies on 01603 212237.