16 April 2021| | 4 min read
Tree-mendous efforts see over 31,000 trees planted in Newcastle
Tree-mendous efforts to make Newcastle a green and pleasant city have seen more than 31,000 new trees planted in a single year.
Should all of them grow to maturity that could see the city exceed its target to have a fifth of the city under canopy cover by 2050 by more than 80 percent.
Terrific news - but not mission accomplished
Christine Herriott, the council’s director of operations and regulatory services, said: “Trees are our history and our future.
“They define the landscape where we live, work and play; are integral to our wellbeing, health and quality of life; and provide welcome colour, shade and shelter in our urban environment.
“After more than a year of the pandemic, I think many of us have become more aware than ever of the environment around us – the birds, the plants and the wildlife - and what an important part they all play in making us feel better about ourselves and our communities.
“To hear that the city has planted tens of thousands more trees, which could help us not only meet our canopy cover targets but greatly exceed them, is terrific news.
“But rest assured this is not mission accomplished and, with our ambitions to be net zero by 2030 and to have a city that is a clean, green and brilliant place to be, we will continue to identify sites for potential planting, and look to increase biodiversity wherever we can and it is appropriate.”
How many trees are there in Newcastle?
An iTree study completed in July 2018 indicated that Newcastle has an estimated 18.1 percent canopy cover – that is the layer of leaves, branches, and tree stems that cover the ground.
That already put the city above the national average of 17 percent, but the council’s revised Tree Strategy – published in April 2019 - set a target of increasing it to 20 percent by 2050, equivalent to 19,000 extra trees, plus any replacements for existing ones lost.
In 2018/19 more than 3,200 trees were planted, with around 300 removed, meaning a potential net gain of 2,997 towards that target, if all of them survive to maturity.
Now however, councillors on the authority’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee will next week hear how, in the tree planting season of 2019/20 data from Newcastle City Council, Urban Green Newcastle, Newcastle Great Park’s NGP Consortium, and planning applications, shows that number has shot up the following year, with 31,966 trees planted and 648 removed, meaning an overall potential gain of 31,318 trees.
Who planted the new trees?
Of the newly planted trees, 1,873 were planted by the council, 93 by Urban Green and 30,000 by NGP Consortium, which is a partnership between Taylor Wimpey and Persimmon Homes, with the support of the local authority.
The planting by the council included 78 “standard” size trees and 1,795 whips/transplants of both native varieties like Oak, Birch, Alder and Pine and non-native varieties such as Norway Maple, and Swedish Whitebeam.
Four hundred of the new trees were paid for by the charity Walking with the Wounded, and 1395 trees that were part funded by a grant sourced in partnership with the UK tree planting charity Trees for Cities.
When will we know if planting is a success?
Currently it is too soon to know how successful the planting has been, with some of the trees unlikely to reach full maturity due to natural factors.
An assessment of changes in the tree canopy cover, compared to 2018, will next be made in 2024, giving the new trees an opportunity to grow and establish themselves.
Find out more
For more information about the Newcastle City Council Tree Strategy visit www.newcastle.gov.uk/trees