Trees in Policy Review

Trees have a role to play in the delivery of many higher policy goals, both within and outside of an individual council. Trees can also deliver within many of the 17 United Nations sustainability goals. Those high-level goals help to identify and establish common ground with other policy areas.

For example, with regards to Goal 8: ‘Decent Work and Economic Growth’, trees provide improved local temperature management and aesthetics for businesses and visitors. This leads to a greater willingness amongst people to spend time in our towns and shopping areas, improving recruitment, retention, and consumer purchasing. This translates into improved economic activity, higher revenues and more job opportunities. Trees can make a significant difference, but for this to work, they need to be part of the policy debate across other departments too.

If you have already declared or are working towards declaring a climate emergency, then you will know that the next step is a climate action plan, which cuts across all portfolios. Trees are one of the tools, and identifying connections between local tree programmes and different departmental policy goals, enables a smoother adoption of tree-related plans as well as the release of appropriate funding.

There is growing awareness of the immense breadth of the benefits of trees. However, this is often overlooked when it comes to detailed planning within directorates which do not have direct responsibility for trees.

Closing this gap brings greater alignment across local government, enabling budgets to be leveraged to deliver against multiple targets at the same time. Mental health, pupil concentration levels and even traffic calming are just a few areas where such connections have been made.

We can help with a detailed review of existing policies, identifying exactly where those linkages can be drawn.

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