LGA Conference 2013: Trust tells councils “healthy trees make healthy places”

We had a highly successful exhibition stand at the Local Government Association annual conference in Manchester from 2nd to 4th July. 

Centrepiece for us was the launch of a new Woodland Trust report ‘Healthy trees – healthy places’ which highlights the many benefits of trees for communities to inspire local authorities into positive action.

The report, written by our Senior Conservation Adviser, Mike Townsend, collates a wide range of research which states the potential benefits to local authorities investing in the natural environment. It also highlights a number of positive steps that both local authorities and individuals can take to green their local communities. 

One of the Woodland Trust’s key aims is to increase woodland cover across the UK from its current figure of 13%, which compares poorly to the European average of 44%. By working with landowners, schools, communities and local authorities the Trust has already planted millions of trees in urban areas.

Our Local Government Officers Ellie and Nick, with Regional Development Officer for North England, Sara Lyons, at the LGA Conference

Local Government Officers Ellie Henderson and Nick, with our Regional Development Officer for North England, Sara Lyons, at the LGA Conference

We offered conference delegates a free crab apple or birch sapling and these proved incredibly popular, with stocks almost exhausted by the end of the conference. Another feature of our stand was an “ideas tree”:  delegates were asked to write on a cardboard leaf why trees are important to them. At the end of the conference all the leaves were put into a prize draw. The winner was Cllr Mary Malin of Kettering Borough Council, who won a garden makeover kit, kindly donated by corporate sponsors, Ronseal.  

We tweeted some of the best put forward by delegates using the special LGA Conference Twitter hashtag  #lgaconf13. Here is a selection: 

Trees are important to me because… 

“Without them we would not survive”

” They are a huggable bit of mother nature”

“they create a restful environment”

“trees are the lifeblood of our society”

“a source of awe and wonder”

“trees are the lungs of the World” 

During the conference Woodland Trust staff spoke to over 200 conference delegates, including 12 council leaders and 6 chief executives. We hope to arrange meetings with many of these people after the conference to discuss how we can help them plant trees and create more woodland in their local communities. If you are a councillor or council officer and would like to talk to us about creating more woods in your community…..please do get in touch!

Nick Sandford , Regional and Local Government Officer (North East and North West England)

About Kaye Brennan

Senior Campaigner (Policy & Advocacy) for the Woodland Trust and Administrator, 'Woodland Matters' blog
This entry was posted in Climate Change, Government Affairs, Local Government, Planting, Protection, Woodland creation and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to LGA Conference 2013: Trust tells councils “healthy trees make healthy places”

  1. Pingback: More than a metaphor? | Woodland Matters

  2. pomfrog says:

    Reblogged this on Save Alexandra Parks Trees and commented:
    The irony!

  3. It’s ironic that this took place in Manchester, where earlier this year the city council cut down hundreds of trees (most of them mature and healthy) from my local park – in spite of an ongoing campaign by local residents and a petition of thousands urging them to stop the devastation and listen to local people, who know how the value of trees in their community.

    • Nick Sandford says:

      Hi Estelle, sorry to hear about this. Sometimes there can be legitimate reasons for removing trees and it’s always a good idea to ask about any plans for replacement planting. If you haven’t already done so it would be useful to make your views known to your local city councillors…. nick

      • Indeed, there are many legitimate reasons for removing trees. Sadly what Manchester City Council classed as a legitimate reason in this instance was to restore the park back to its original Victoria design… In a high-density urban area, in a city which calls itself ‘green’, thousands of local people were well aware that healthy, mature trees are more important and necessary than nostalgia. The campaign group had numerous meetings with councillors, our MP, and tried to engage with the city council, but all to no avail.

  4. Jim Clark says:

    Let’s hope that this will be a trend, local woods (and other areas such as meadows) within easy reach of local people. Not as at present encouraged by big conservation organisations. honeypot reserves requiring sometimes a hundred plus miles travel to get to.
    I’m afraid a million voices for nature are a low wimper, if that.

  5. Peter Kyte says:

    Local councils can be very good at putting their community first, so planting lots of trees is a good way of doing just that.

  6. peteratwressle says:

    Absolutely! Not just healthy places: inspirational places, restful places, engaging places, connecting places – in fact, all-in-all, totally indispensible places!

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