By Jessica Allan – The Tree Council’s Science and Research Projects Manager
t’s truly exciting to be starting a new phase of work on Trees and Woodland Strategy (TAWS). In December, we published the TAWS Toolkit for Local Authorities, which has been co-created by a partnership of The Tree Council, Fera Science, Forest Research and the Forestry Commission, and funded by Defra. The toolkit includes practical guidance for Local Authorities to support them in developing and delivering local strategies. It showcases fantastic and inspiring work from all corners of the country, from Leeds to Fareham, Norfolk to the Forest of Avon. Now, we look forward to turning theory into reality!
Why do we need Trees and Woodland Strategies?
In recent years, there has been a renewed focus on trees, as reflected in the England Trees Action Plan (ETAP). With increased funding and political will, we have a collective opportunity to create bigger, better-connected, and more resilient treescapes – helping to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss. With this opportunity comes a shared responsibility to get it right. As noted in the ETAP: ‘Trees are a long-term endeavour; the treescapes we create in the coming years will outlive us, and today’s decisions will profoundly impact the country our children inhabit.’
We have lots of questions to tackle: Where should we establish new trees, and how? How will they be looked after for the long-term? How do we reduce the risk of pests and diseases? How do we help people and communities play a role in shaping and caring for their local treescapes? The list could go on!
Creating Trees and Woodland Strategies can help Local Authorities to navigate these questions and make sure that action on the ground is coordinated. TAWS are tools for engaging the public, establishing partnership working, embedding evidence-based decision-making, unlocking budgets and making the most of national funding to achieve local aims. They can also help to energise and mobilise volunteers and community groups.
A call to action
We look forward to continuing to learn together as a community and deliver the best outcomes for trees and woodlands. There are lots of ways to get involved!
First, if you are a Local Authority, we hope you will start to use the toolkit to create, deliver or update your strategy. Please do let us know if you use it and have any feedback.
Second, to keep learning from each other, we are planning to develop an active network of individuals and organisations working in this space, so please do get in touch if you’d like to be kept updated on meetings and events: email@example.com.
Last but not least, on Monday January 16, between 2 – 3.30pm, we will mark the publication of the toolkit with an online event featuring speakers from Defra, The Tree Council, Leeds City Council, Surrey County Council and Fareham Borough Council. You can sign up for the online event and we look forward to seeing you there!