ACKNOWLEDGED as one of the most effective ways to improve air quality and the general environment in towns, trees are an economical way to mitigate climate change while enhancing economic wellbeing.
The North East Lincolnshire Tree Strategy, which has been in development since 2022, has been adopted by the Council Cabinet. The strategy sets out our approach for managing and protecting our existing tree population, increasing the number of trees in North East Lincolnshire and for promoting the significant benefits that trees have on our society.
The strategy has been created to provide residents with a high quality, sustainable environment. This ties in with the Government’s 25-year environment plan of 2018, which aims to leave our environment “in a better state than we inherited it”. It will also help with the delivery of the Council’s Net Zero Carbon Roadmap and Natural Assets Plan.
By adopting the Tree Strategy, the Council is demonstrating its commitment to caring for trees under its management, while increasing the number of trees in public places. This is also supported by two successful funding bids to the Forestry Commission’s Local Authority Treescapes Fund and Urban Tree Challenge Fund (UTCF), which will be used to support our tree planting efforts in 2023/24 and 2024/25. The funding has enabled North East Lincolnshire Council and its regeneration partner Equans to launch the ‘Greening Up Our Place’ project, aiming to restore trees within our streets, parks and open spaces and increase canopy cover within the borough.
It is hoped that the Tree Strategy will support and encourage private landowners to care for their own trees, and increase the number of trees on their land. With the national average for tree canopy coverage at 15.8% and North East Lincolnshire below the national average with recommendations to achieve a minimum of 15%, it is vital that work continues to deliver a tree population that will benefit all people who work and live here.
North East Lincolnshire has an estimated tree canopy cover of 10.5%, with some wards within North East Lincolnshire with as little as 2% tree coverage, including East Marsh, West Marsh, Sidney Sussex, Immingham, and Croft Baker. These areas will be a key focus for planting more trees.
Cllr Stewart Swinburn, portfolio holder for environment and transport, said: “We are delighted that the Tree Strategy has been adopted, giving a clear framework for plans to increase tree cover in the borough.
“Not only will we be working hard as a council to ensure that the strategy is a success, but we also look forward to working alongside communities and local groups to drive forward the plan. We have already seen several groups keen to participate and are looking forward to working together to build a better environment for ourselves and future generations.”
A public consultation during autumn 2023 revealed a need for the provision of advice and support to homeowners on how to care for trees, and how to increase cover on private land. By engaging not only with the public but also community groups, NELC hopes to address these requirements, allowing for the implementation of a successful plan across the whole of North East Lincolnshire.
The value of trees cannot be underestimated. They reduce flooding by taking in water, create habitats for nature, make us feel better, clean our air by absorbing toxins, and reduce carbon dioxide (CO2). Planting and caring for our trees can only be a good thing for North East Lincolnshire.
For more about the Tree Strategy and events related to Greening Up Our Place, visit www.nelincs.gov.uk/trees