Birmingham is a city that takes its urban forest seriously. Over the years, Birmingham City Council and its local partners have developed a suite of policies, plans, and guidelines pertaining to trees and urban green space. As a next step, the decision was made to develop an Urban Forest Master Plan (UFMP) to bring many of these initiatives together and to provide long-term strategic guidance.
The UFMP outlines a vision for the development of the urban forest. In the case of Birmingham, it sets out to answer the question where the local urban forestry program wants to be in 30 years. The UFMP provides the ambition and overall direction, but not necessarily the detail. As a framework document, it sets a series of targets with associated priorities, actions, and performance indicators under a range of key topics, but it will need to be supported by and implemented through specific strategies and plans for each of these targets.
The UFMP also links to other relevant policies and initiatives at the city level, and even beyond. An example of this is ‘Our Future City Plan’ which sets out strategic directions for Birmingham towards the year 2040, for example under the theme of City of Nature. A full policy review of relevant documents from international, national, regional and local levels has been undertaken as part of this project to ensure this Master Plan supports and is supported by all aspects of urban forestry policy. The UFMP provides a ‘planning home’ for urban forestry and will strive for creating synergies with other plans and programs that aim to make Birmingham greener, healthier, more attractive to residents and visitors, and more resilient to the impacts of climate change.