Innovative Trees and Woodland Strategy Toolkit launched to maximise benefits of trees and woodlands in communities across England
December 1, 2022
Today, an innovative Trees and Woodland Strategy Toolkit is launched to empower Local Authorities to create their own strategies and action plans for trees, to build resilient treescapes across the country.
The Toolkit will help Local Authorities plan how they can meet net-zero targets by increasing tree planting across the country, reversing the decline in nature and supporting economic growth.
Local Authorities have a unique and critical leadership role to play for the nation’s trees, as they sit at the heart of delivering national and local objectives. The Toolkit will help Local Authorities set out their vision to expand and protect their local treescapes and offers practical solutions on how to achieve it. It also aims to help accelerate tree planting to meet net zero targets by 2050 and increase access to nature within local communities. Equally importantly, it instils a joined-up approach that spans both public and private land.
The Toolkit highlights how Local Authorities can draw on the current exceptional levels of Government funding for tree planting to enhance local communities. It also provides practical, step-by-step guidance on how to develop a strategy. It will help local authorities to:
Make the case for trees as a key asset to achieve economic, environmental and social objectives
Provide a framework for a healthy treescape
Unlock opportunities for new funding streams
Encourage partnership working with local stakeholders
Improve community health and wellbeing
Engage with the public, harnessing ‘people power’ and giving communities a say in the future of their trees
Mitigate public health risks through strategic tree management
Create a structure for embedding trees into planning policy and highway management
Sara Lom, CEO The Tree Council, said: “Local Authorities have a unique and critical leadership role to play for the nation’s trees. With prolonged, record-breaking heatwaves and continuing drought, the effects of a changing climate have been starkly felt across Britain this year.
“Trees play a key role in the fight against climate change and biodiversity loss by capturing and locking up carbon and providing homes and connectivity in the landscape for thousands of species.
“Trees can also lower the land surface temperature in a city by up to 12oC. At CoP27, countries around the world announced some highly ambitious planting targets and we must meet our own demanding targets too. We can only do this through local action on the ground.”
Forestry Minister Trudy Harrison said: “Trees bring cleaner air, cooler temperatures and flood resilience to communities across the country, making them invaluable assets to Local Authorities. This toolkit will help councils turn their tree planting plans into action through practical advice, expert knowledge and step-by-step guidance.
“By working together, across central and local government, as well with trusted partners like The Tree Council, we can deliver on our ambitious targets to treble planting rates in England by the end of this Parliament, tackle the twin challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss, and achieve net zero.”
Sir William Worsley, Chair, Forestry Commission, said: “It is clear that Local Authorities nationwide are passionate about unlocking the environmental, economic and health benefits that trees provide for their residents. By advising on how best to involve local people in tree planting, this toolkit will not only help to get more trees in the ground but also foster a true sense of community pride and unity.
“Thanks to this toolkit, local authorities can kickstart their planting ambitions today and help to deliver resilient, thriving treescapes of all kinds across the country.”
Alongside the new toolkit, Defra recently announced that 57 local authorities across England have received £9.8 million in funding to kickstart tree planting activity, create new green jobs and boost access to nature. This will enable local authorities to bring on board new staff and access the professional expertise needed to drive tree planting and woodland creation at a local level. More than 100 new green jobs will be created across the country, with an emphasis on upskilling professionals from outside the sector. This will help to expand the industry’s workforce, address skills shortages and help to grow the economy.