Wrexham's councillors have backed a plan to increase the Welsh county borough's urban tree cover to at least 20 per cent in ten years. The draft Tree & Woodland Strategy, unanimously approved last month, presents the case for greater tree cover in terms of climate change, pollution, flooding and biodiversity.
It also details plans to protect existing trees and ensure that any future trees are planted in the right locations. The strategy draws on an i-Tree Eco study, completed in 2011, that put the value of ecosystem services provided by the town's trees at £1.2m per year.
Among the strategy's other objectives are to ensure the tree population is healthy, varied in age and diverse in species as well as sustainably managed to maximise ecological, social and economic benefits; that ancient and notable trees are protected; and that communities are involved in looking after and enhancing tree populations.
"The county borough council will aim to plant large-stature trees where space and other constraints such as rooting volume availability dictate," it states. It also commits to preserving traditional orchards are through the use of tree preservation orders and encourages the planting of new community orchards "where possible".
Currently only four of the county borough's 11 urban areas meet the 20 per cent target, with the town of Wrexham itself on 13 per cent. The Welsh national average for urban areas is 17 per cent. A recent public consultation showed an 81 per cent approval rating among locals for the aim of increasing tree coverage.
Meanwhile, the Woodland Trust will this month begin a campaign to move tree cover up the agenda in the run-up to May's Welsh Assembly elections. It is calling for the Welsh Government to support the planting of 10 million trees over the next five years to reduce flood risk.