AS National Tree Week kicks off, Future Woodlands Scotland (FWS) has teamed up with bp to launch an innovative £10 million Urban Forestry Programme, aiming to enhance green spaces in cities, towns, and urban areas across Scotland. The collaboration is part of bp’s commitment to sustainable practices and aligns with the development of its Scottish offshore wind farm, Morven, in partnership with EnBW.
The newly created urban forestry programme, fueled by bp’s £10 million funding, will leverage new and emerging technologies to strategically target urban areas where the creation of green spaces would have the most significant impact. FWS has appointed its first urban forestry manager, Des Hackett, to lead the program, with an anticipated launch in mid-2024.
Shireen Chambers, CEO of FWS, expressed excitement about the collaboration, emphasising the positive impact on Scotland’s urban environment. The program aims to benefit over 4.5 million people by creating a diverse network of trees and woodlands in and around urban settlements.
Urban forestry involves the management of trees and forest resources in and around community ecosystems for their contributions to the well-being of urban society. Research indicates that urban forestry not only provides health and well-being benefits but also contributes to economic gains. According to a recent study by Forest Research and Defra, individual trees in the UK, both in urban and rural areas, contribute up to £3.8 billion per year. The economic value is derived from the role trees play in carbon sequestration, temperature regulation, flood resilience, and pollution reduction.
In Scotland’s cities like Edinburgh and Glasgow, urban forests play a crucial role in removing airborne pollutants, intercepting rainfall, and enhancing air quality. FWS aims to create leafier neighbourhoods by planting trees in parks, streets, amenity areas, canals, and rivers, encouraging outdoor interaction and promoting community health and well-being.
To mark the signing of the contract, Shireen Chambers and Richard Haydock, bp’s Program Director, UK Offshore Wind, planted an oak tree at Hunters Hall Park in the south of Edinburgh. Richard Haydock highlighted bp’s longstanding partnership with Future Woodlands Scotland and expressed pride in expanding support through the Urban Forestry Programme. The program is set to launch in 2024, focusing on increasing the number of trees and green spaces in Scotland’s urban areas.
As bp continues its commitment to biodiversity and sustainability, the Urban Forestry Programme underscores the company’s dedication to making a positive impact on the environment and communities where it operates.