Tree Planting: Urban Areas

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 13th March 2020.

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Photo of Neil O'Brien Neil O'Brien Conservative, Harborough

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the Government's progress in increasing the number of trees (a) on streets and (b) in urban environments.

Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The Government is committed to increasing the number of trees on streets and in urban environments, in and around the places where most people live and work.

In 2019, we launched the £10 million Urban Tree Challenge Fund which is providing matched funding to councils, charities, community groups, private sector bodies and individuals to plant 130,000 trees, including 20,000 street trees, in our towns and cities.

In addition, we are giving hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren across England, mostly in urban areas, the opportunity to plant trees in schools and local communities, as part of our 1 million Trees for Schools programme in partnership with the Community Forest Trust and the Woodland Trust.

The Environment Bill includes new duties on councils to consult when felling street trees and increased penalties for illegal felling. As part of our 25 Year Environment Plant, we have worked with stakeholders to develop and publish an Urban Tree Manual and we are developing policies to ensure all new streets are lined with trees. These measures will help to ensure councils pick the right trees in terms of biosecurity, value for money, air quality impact and biodiversity.

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