At Trees for Streets, we are on a mission to fill our streets with trees! Over the next ten years, we will support councils across the UK to plant 250,000 trees in urban areas – transforming them into beautiful green spaces for the benefit of residents AND our environment.
This is National Tree Week, the UK’s largest celebration of trees, something we’re passionate about. So, we thought we’d take the opportunity to write about the goal we’ve set out to achieve, and why it’s so important.
It’s never been more important to plant trees
Trees are one of the most powerful tools we have in the fight against the climate emergency - they give us greener streets, cleaner air and less pollution.
Trees are like living carbon sinks, absorbing and storing carbon[i].
They produce oxygen, create shade, prevent flooding, filter the air, and absorb pollution. We need to plant hundreds of thousands more now to make sure they are there for us in the future.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, fully supports our project:
“I’m doing everything in my power to make London net-zero carbon by 2030 and one of the greenest, most sustainable cities in the world.
Having spent time with city mayors from around the world at COP26, I know that action is now more urgent than ever."
"Planting more trees in London is a simple, yet vital step to helping us address the climate and ecological emergencies. They help tackle toxic air pollution, provide a home for wildlife, keep our city cool and manage flood risk – helping our city adapt to a changing climate."
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan
We all deserve more green space
As well as helping save the planet, trees contribute so much to our mental and physical wellbeing. Studies have proven that being in green spaces reduces our stress levels and we get sick less often. We’re more likely to go out and exercise too, keeping us fitter and healthier.
But although towns and cities in the UK boast some amazing parks, 1 in 5 of us are deprived of access to green space[ii]. The situation is urgent. We need to bring greenery much closer to home where we really need it, so that everyone can benefit.
The positive effects of tree-lined streets can be measured too – property prices tend to be higher on streets with more trees, and there is less crime.
We make it easy for councils and people across England to play their part
We’re a Tech for Good project that uses technology to empower residents and organisations to get involved in greening their communities.
We do this by hosting tree sponsorship schemes on behalf of local councils, supplementing their tree planting budgets through public and corporate sponsorship. We also deliver the local promotion and engagement activity needed to bring these schemes to life.
Our Trees for Streets app makes it easy for anyone to sponsor a tree in their neighbourhood by making a request to their local council. The council then checks the suitability of the chosen location and makes arrangements to plant a tree the following winter: the best time to plant young trees to ensure they grow and thrive.
Who we are
Trees for Streets is part of Trees for Cities - the only UK charity working at a national and international scale to improve lives by planting trees in cities. To date they have planted over 1.2M trees in towns and cities across the UK and around the world.
This project is funded by the government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund. The fund is being delivered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural England and the Environment Agency.
Having piloted our platform with the first cohort of 8 councils this year, we’re looking to bring more local authorities on board to build on the work we’ve been doing in 2021 and bring as many people in the UK as possible the option to sponsor a tree in their neighbourhood.
Join Us! It's easy to get involvedGet started
[i] Tree planting 'has mind-blowing potential' to tackle climate crisis – The Guardian, 04/07/2019:
Research: The global tree restoration potential, by Jean-François Bastin, Thomas W. Crowther et al: https://www.science.org/doi/full/10.1126/science.aax0848
[ii] Friends of the Earth: Access to green space in England. Are you missing out?
Image credits: Greater London Authority