CIVIC chiefs have revealed only 20 trees have been planted in the Winchester district over the last two years, despite nearly 250 being felled.

The figure was revealed by portfolio holder for environment Cllr Jan Warwick at Winchester City Council last week.

However, Cllr Warwick claimed the council “has a strong commitment to trees, and recognises their value and importance to people and the environment”.

The figures show 173 trees were felled in 2017, and 112 last year. There are currently around 16,000 trees on council-owned land.

There are concerns that the city has thousands of mature tress planted in the 19th and early 20th centuries and unless action is taken there could soon be a sharp drop in numbers.

Cllr Warwick said: “We have a robust process in place for the management of trees owned and managed by the city council, including felling and planting. The work is undertaken by specialist tree officers and the council strives to have a healthy and robust tree population with a diverse range of species and age.

“Where possible the council undertakes remedial works to help prolong the life of its trees and minimise the number which need to be felled. Where a tree represents an unacceptable risk to the public or property and/or there is a clear arboricultural reason for the tree to be removed (ie disease, damage or overcrowding), the tree will be felled.”

“We are reviewing our tree planting programme and it is anticipated this figure will rise in the winter of 2019/20. In addition to this the Council seeks opportunities to secure tree planting through both council and private sector development.”