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Work is well underway to plant more trees and shrubs across Southend borough.
The council is planting an additional 1,000 trees over a three-year period and we are in the second year of this programme.
So far this year, across Southend in streets, parks, and other green spaces, the council has planted:
- 641 trees of varying sizes which is a doubling of planting in recent years. Species include varieties of Acer, Sorbus and Prunus trees.
- 7,000 shrubs planted
The increased planting is part of the council’s newly approved tree policy, where we committed to increasing the town’s tree canopy cover from 12% to 15%, which is an increase of over 1km2, a rise of 20 per cent from the current 5.17km2, and the equivalent of 150 football pitches.
The policy sets out how the council will manage its trees across the borough and help the borough to maintain a healthy tree population and achieve the target of 15 per cent recommended in a report about tree cover by Forestry Research, part of the Forestry Commission, and in an independent tree canopy assessment of Southend-on-Sea.
Cllr Carole Mulroney, cabinet member for environment and planning, said: “Whilst we have seven award winning Green Flag parks and open spaces, we are also a highly urbanised area, and raising our tree canopy level will need the council and community to work together to meet and hopefully exceed the 15 per cent target.
“We are working hard on improving canopy cover during this planting season and 641 trees and 7,000 shrubs have already been planted across the borough.
“In addition to our normal planting programme, we have planted a further 615 standard trees. This is a significant addition to our normal planting programme and demonstrates the council’s and my commitment to the importance of creating a green environment.
“Further investment will also be needed to drive this forward in future years.
“We all know how important trees and other plants are to our own lives by providing cleaner air and a more pleasant environment, but their benefits for fauna and wildlife habitats are also crucial.
“Trees and planting are something we can all get involved in and we want people to think about how they can plant trees in their own gardens and for businesses to consider planting on their own land, so that together we create a tree canopy that increases and helps us become a Green City and work towards our goal of becoming a carbon-neutral Southend by 2030.”
In January, the cabinet also agreed to a review of the council’s land holdings to assist in the development of the planting strategy by identifying suitable and available sites for potential tree planting.
This will be coupled with a community engagement programme to encourage residents, businesses, schools and other groups and charities to consider tree planting on their land to help increase the canopy cover.