Hertfordshire County Council should commit to planting two trees for every one that comes down on its land.

That is the view of Conservative councillor Michael Muir, who says two young trees will make up for larger ones felled.

Highways bosses currently aim to ‘replace where possible’ every tree that has to be removed from roadside with another.

But that does not always happen if that tree has been causing damage, if there is a lack of space due to cables or pipes or because of cost.

Cllr Muir told the county council’s highways and environment cabinet panel on Monday that he didn’t think the council was going far enough.

He urged the cabinet panel to back his calls for every tree that was lost on any council land to be replaced with two more.

Cllr Muir had argued that it would take many years – up to 90 – for a young replacement tree to take out the same amount of carbon from the air as the mature tree it replaced – so two were needed.

And he stressed the policy should extend to all land owned by the county council - not just around the highways.

“I think the policy of just replacing one for one is wrong,” he said. “It should be two standard trees for any one on council land.

“And if it’s a tree on the highway – you can replace one on the highway – and if there’s not enough room, the other tree can go on county land somewhere.”

The move was also backed by Liberal Democrat Cllr Stephen Giles-Medhurst, who said the council was being “unambitious” in light of the climate change emergency it had adopted.

But it was not backed by the cabinet panel, which was discussing tree-planting in response to a motion that was presented to the council in November (2019).

That motion also called for the county council – in conjunction with borough, district and parish councils – identified locations on highways land where additional trees could be planted.

Councillors opted to wait until the county council had drafted the Herts Sustainability Strategy, and a report to the cabinet panel noted that this would probably be a recommendation of the ongoing tree resilience an recovery strategy.

The cabinet panel agreed to reconsider the matter after the strategies had been completed.

Cllr Giles-Medhurst pushed for this to be by the autumn – so that it could be implemented in the next winter tree-planting season.

However no guarantee was offered that this could be the case, with the commitment that it would be “as soon as possible”.

Cllr Giles-Medhurst also suggested there should be a mechanism for residents to donate money to have a tree planted – which there was not currently.