Tree Champion: we must preserve our urban trees
19 Oct 2018 02:28 PM
The government’s Tree Champion, Sir William Worsley, has called for stronger protections for England’s street trees with the launch of an ‘Urban Tree Manual’.
Aimed at local authorities, charities and community groups, the manual provides advice on selecting the right tree for the right place in towns and cities – ensuring the views of local communities are at the heart of decision-making and residents are properly consulted before street trees are felled.
Released during Green GB Week – a week of action dedicated to celebrating clean growth – the toolkit has been designed in recognition of the important role urban trees play in the environment. These include improving health and wellbeing, encouraging people to enjoy the outdoors, absorbing noise and reducing temperatures.
Bringing together knowledge from organisations such as the Forestry Commission, Forest Research and the Animal and Plant Health Agency, the manual provides tips on choosing planting location, tree type and soil to maximise the environmental benefits, as well as highlighting the long term threats to trees from pests, disease and climate change.
Government Tree Champion Sir William Worsley said:
Whether they’re rooted in countryside woodland or in urban cityscapes, trees make our environment more attractive and a healthier place to live and work – which is why expertise in the planting and maintenance of urban trees is vital.
I hope this Urban Tree Manual will help to improve decision-making around the country to make sure our invaluable trees are preserved now - and for future generations.
The toolkit builds on work already underway by local authorities to help trees flourish, featuring case studies such as the planting at The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park which focused on choosing climate change resilient trees, and Observatree - a collaborative citizen science project which aims to spot new pest and disease threats to UK trees.
The release of the Urban Tree Manual forms part of the government’s wider work to protect and promote our precious trees, including our commitment to plant one million trees in our towns and cities and eleven million trees nationwide over the course of this parliament.
Protecting and planting more trees is a key part of our ambitious 25-Year Environment Plan, which will ensure we leave this environment in a better state for the next generation.