Environment | Tree coverage to double by 2050 in West of England

Environment | Tree coverage to double by 2050 in West of England

The Forest of Avon Plan: A Tree and Woodland Strategy has ambitious plans for the region’s trees and woodlands

The Forest of Avon Plan: A Tree and Woodland Strategy for the West of England supports regional targets to double tree cover by 2050 – an extra 1.1 million trees every decade – one for each resident in the region.

Key goals include planting thousands of street trees in areas of low tree cover, creating networks of trees for nature and bringing more existing woodlands into management so they are properly cared for.

As the West of England’s four unitary authorities and the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) accelerate action to address both a climate emergency and severe ecological decline, this plan is a key piece of work to draw in investment and coordinate action where it will have the greatest impact for our region’s trees and woodlands – and for us all.

The cross-sector West of England Nature Partnership, including the councils of Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire and the West of England Combined Authority, has endorsed the plan, the coordination of which is being led by the Forest of Avon Trust, the West of England’s Community Forest charity.

West of England Combined Authority mayor Dan Norris said: “As the world struggles with a climate emergency there can be no better time to imagine how things could be different… I’m full square behind the idea of planting one tree for every person in the West of England. Trees matter, helping to clean and cool the air, reduce flooding and are beautiful to look at.”

The plan sets out a comprehensive set of action plans for each area within the region as well as key principles for tree planting and care. It calls upon collective action of individuals, communities, businesses, landowners and authorities to deliver an agreed vision.

The plan proposes measures for the immediate and longer term to help meet the future vision for the ‘Forest of Avon’, one of England’s Community Forests, and to seize upon the evidenced benefits that trees and woodlands bring to tackle the huge challenges we face as a region but also as a part of a national and global picture.

The aspiration to double tree and woodland cover will provide significant benefits to the region, including an estimated additional £540 million worth of carbon sequestration, air quality improvements and hazard regulation alone. This is in addition to the as-yet unquantified benefits from increasing biodiversity, providing health and wellbeing benefits, improving water and air quality, providing economic benefits and jobs and providing goods and services such as timber and recreation. The value of these benefits far exceeds the costs of delivery.

Main image: ©Barbara Evripidou/FirstAvenuePhotography.com
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