World-leading experts appointed to support Scottish urban forestry proposal

Shireen Chambers and Tim Hall (Future Woodlands Scotland)

FUTURE Woodlands Scotland (FWS) has taken a step forward in its ambition to help create better, healthier and greener cities and towns, with the appointment of world-leading experts to research and develop a delivery model for a £10 million urban forestry fund. The fund, committed by bp as part of their Scottish windfarm, Morven, jointly developed with EnBW, aims to improve the environment in cities and towns in Scotland.

FWS, which works to foster and conserve native woodland in Scotland, has appointed Treeconomics and the Nature Based Solutions Institute (NBSI) for a four-month project to identify options and make recommendations to ensure the fund is delivered in a way that has maximum impact across Scotland. They will explore the feasibility of projects and activities that include tree planting and greening initiatives, in consultation with communities, to deliver environmental, social and economic benefits.

Today, 80% of people in Scotland live in urban areas, according to Scottish Forestry.

To tackle climate change, create cleaner, more sustainable cities, and improve the lives of people within them, urban greening is being adopted by cities and organisations globally to build better relationships between people and places.

Research suggests that planting the right trees in the right places can help control surface water flooding, improve air quality, saves energy in buildings for heating and cooling, enhances human wellbeing and can bring significant economic benefits.

Creating more leafy neighbourhoods, including trees in parks, streets, and private gardens, encourages people to spend more time outdoors and interact with their neighbourhoods, which in turn promotes social health.

Tim Hall, chair of Future Woodlands Scotland said:

“We are delighted to be working with Treeconomics and the NBSI, who will draw on both scientific evidence and their experience of similar programmes worldwide to develop a delivery model for the fund.”

“As someone who has been involved with – and passionate about – urban forestry for a very long time, I’m excited to see the results of this project.”

“These are the types of action-orientated solutions we need to see in Scotland, in which trees and native woodlands are thriving for the benefit of our wildlife, communities, and climate. We hope this work will help us gain a better understanding of how best to design a programme that will bring long-term and meaningful benefits for nature, climate and people.”

“It is an exciting time for the charity, as we also welcome our first ceo, Shireen Chambers, MBE. Shireen is leading the organisation through our next ambitious phase: to focus on the benefits that trees and native woodlands can bring to both our rural and urban environments in Scotland.”

The Urban Forestry Fund will measure success using the 3:30:300 rule, developed by Cecil Konijnendijk of the NBSI, which is working in partnership with Treeconomics to develop the fund.

The ‘3:30:300 rule’ is an evidence-based rule which states that everyone should be able to see at least three trees from their home; there should be a minimum of 30% tree canopy cover in each neighbourhood; and 300 metres should be the maximum distance to the nearest high-quality public green space.

Cecil Konijnendijk of the NBSI said:

“It is so exciting to see the 3:30:300 rule being used for this initiative by Future Woodlands Scotland. Cities and organisations across the world have started using 3:30:300 as part of their policies and programmes, but this is the most ambitious project of its kind to date. We at the NBSI are really glad to be part of this.”

bp, who are funding the research and development as part of their £10 million commitment, have supported the regeneration of native woodlands in Scotland for more than 20 years.

Richard Haydock, bp’s project director, UK offshore wind said: “bp is proud of our long-established partnership with Future Woodlands Scotland. As part of our Scottish Morven project being developed with EnBW, we are excited to expand our support to help increase the number of trees and green spaces in Scotland’s cities and towns.”

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