Proposals to plant 15,000 new trees across Sandwell by 2030 were approved by cabinet on Wednesday 15 March 2023.
The Council took part in a survey that showed Sandwell has an estimated 265,000 trees, covering 18.1% of the borough. Under the new strategy, the Council will develop resources and support residents, community groups, businesses and other stakeholders to plant the right tree, in the right place, at the right time.
The tree strategy will allow the Council to protect healthy trees through a policy of no invasive works unless necessary and respond to Ash Dieback and other diseases by managing declining trees and replacing them with suitable new plants.
Trees in Sandwell provide nearly £6bn in annual benefits based on carbon storage, air pollution removal, and rainwater interception. This includes removing 15.3 tonnes of air pollution each year. They also provide valuable natural habitats to nature and wildlife, as well as noise reduction and health and wellbeing benefits to Sandwell’s residents.
The strategy also aims to increase species diversity of trees to build resilience against pests, diseases and climate change, ensuring that no one species will be more than 10% of tree stock.
The Council will prepare a detailed action plan for its implementation and develop a planting programme for the 2023/2024 planting season.
Councillor Laura Rollins, Sandwell Council’s Cabinet Member for Leisure & Tourism, said: “The benefits our trees provide cannot be overstated – trees enhance the quality of the local environment, homes, and contribute to thriving neighbourhoods in both aesthetic appearance and the overall quality of air and health.
“Trees are also recognised as an important way of mitigating the effects and impacts of climate change. Their presence alone cannot halt climate change; but they can help to slow the rate and enable adaptations.”