Planting trees on our streets

“Trees improve our urban spaces, making them better places to live.”

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The council at the city of Sheffield didn’t seem to like trees on its streets:

Futures Forum: “Sheffield’s tree massacre”: How locals have battled to protect Europe’s greenest city (Sept 2018)

Sheffield trees: Council tried to ‘avoid scrutiny’ over scheme – BBC News (Oct 2020)

Why an inquiry is needed to get to roots of Sheffield tree-felling scandal: Rich Ward | Yorkshire Post (Feb 2021)

Sheffield tree felling protests – Wikipedia

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However, the Government is keen on it: in his statement of 1st Feb 2021 Robert Jenrick said

“We are also introducing a new expectation that all new streets should be tree-lined. This will deliver on the government’s manifesto commitment for tree-lined streets, improve biodiversity and support the government’s wider ambitions to plant 40 million trees.”

Written statements – Written questions, answers and statements – UK Parliament

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More Than Just A Pretty Trunk: How Street Trees Enhance Complete Streets | Michigan Complete Streets Coalition
More Than Just A Pretty Trunk: How Street Trees Enhance Complete Streets | Michigan Complete Streets Coalition

It makes good sense to plant trees right next to roads:

3 Reasons Why It is Important to Install Trees on the Roads

Benefits of Roadside Plantings

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And what about planting trees on urban streets?

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The group Treeconomics put this report together a couple of years ago:

GBU – Street Tree Cost-Benefit Analysis – 2018.pdf

Our mission: Sustainable treescapes for everyone

It is the goal and passion of Treeconomics to work to understand how trees improve our urban spaces, making them better places to live.

Home – Treeconomics

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As used in the Sid Valley:

Sid Valley i-Tree Eco Survey – Treeconomics

Arboretum Towns.pdf

THE GUARDIAN 15 August 2015 Patrick Barkham wrote: “Our ‘urban forests’ can make us healthier, wealthier and happier”. …Trees on British streets lack any government department or national body to look after them.”

Tree Report | sidmoutharboretum.org.uk

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Other places are embracing tree-planting – in a very new and clear context:

“The UK government has committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050. As part of our overall response to this, Surrey County Council has committed to facilitate the planting of 1.2 million trees – one for every Surrey resident – by 2030.”

And the council has put together a programme to make that happen – by encouraging people to plant trees next to roads:

Planting trees on the highway – Surrey County Council

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For example:

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Let’s fill our streets with trees – Start With Local

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But, still, it’s a challenge – which can be met, as the Start with Local group points out:

Street-trees can be expensive

Planting trees in streets can be expensive. Funnily enough, the tree is itself the cheapest component – a 3-4m high tree should cost your council £60-70, depending on species. The initial watering of a street-tree over 3 years is a massive £200-£250. Planting a tree in a grass verge may cost £100 but do so in a hard surface and you may be looking at £250, and more if you then get into engineered trees pit and tree guards. So, on average Defra estimates it costs about £600 to plant a street-tree. No wonder we’re not seeing a renaissance in street-trees, quite the opposite.

How to create a step-change?

At Start with Local, we’re working on a scheme to support the mass planting of street-trees – Trees for Streets

Let’s fill our streets with trees – Start With Local

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And here’s the scheme, starting Easter 2021:

Trees for Streets – Let’s fill our streets with trees

   
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