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Birmingham first UK city to develop an Urban Forest Master Plan

Birmingham is taking a strategic approach to its urban forest. It is engaging experts and key stakeholders to help it prepare an Urban Forest Master Plan.

 This project is the first of its kind in the UK and follows a model used in the US and Canada.
 
The Plan will help Birmingham work towards a vision for its trees that is sustainable into the future.
 
In the UK, the development of detailed Urban Forest Master Plans (UFMPs) has been slow. A significant reason is the absence of a case study and resultant model.
 
The Birmingham project will redress this gap. A partnership between Birmingham City Council and Birmingham Tree People, working with UK consultancy Treeconomics and the Nature Based Solutions Institute, is engaged in the development of a comprehensive Plan for the city.
 
Birmingham is the UK’s second city. It has more parks than any other major city on the continent, and an estimated 1 million trees.
 
Birmingham has the longest running street tree planting programme and high canopy cover. The city recognises that trees are its natural lungs and necessary for wellbeing.
 
Its green approach to public health has led to it being part of the global Biophilic Cities Network. It was granted Tree City of the World status, for the second year running, in 2020.

The Urban Forest Master Plan

 
Simon Needle, Principal Arboriculturist at BCC, said:
 
“Birmingham’s treescape is a legacy of both city planning and the philanthropic work of notable residents.
 
“This history of joint working for the benefit of all is something we are continuing today with the Urban Forest Master Plan. It’s a co-created document for the long-term advancement of the urban forest”.
 
The Plan will offer an action-based strategy, focused on what the city wants over the long term.
 
It will establish a vision, with input from stakeholders from the business community, to residents. The Plan will provide a long-term framework in which action plans can then be developed.
 
Smaller goals will also be identified for species diversity, environmental equity, tree protection and community engagement.
 
Indicators will monitor progress so the city can ensure it stays on track.
 
Ian McDermott, Project Manager for Birmingham Tree People, added:
 
“It’s a very rare thing for a major city to undertake such strategic planning around the tree assets. But for them to engage a third sector organisation shows an underlying commitment. They want to ensure the community is at the very heart of its urban forestry ambitions”.
 
The significance of this collaborative Plan is that it is the first of its kind in the UK. It has the potential to provide the case study and model which will encourage others to follow.
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