Seminar demands promotion of trees on planning agenda

Pushing trees onto the planning agenda will be a critical step in ensuring that towns and cities can adapt to climate change, said speakers at last week's Treework Environmental Practice's Trees and Urban Climate Adaptation seminar.

They suggested that next month's UN climate change conference in Copenhagen could provide an opportunity for tree professionals to raise awareness of the industry's effectiveness in tackling problems including flooding and the urban heat island effect.

Trees and Design Action Group chairman Martin Kelly told delegates that green infrastructure is essential to the well-being of residents in urban areas, making towns and cities more pleasant places in which to work and live.

Speakers at the seminar called for the inclusion of planners and designers at an earlier stage in urban redevelopment to avoid future problems.

The Town & Country Planning Association is supporting increased green infrastructure through its Green and Blue Space Adaptation for Urban Areas and Eco Towns (GRaBS) project.

GRaBS aims to aid the creation of adaptation strategies through exchanging knowledge among 14 partners from eight EU member states. A case study highlighted the project's results in Malmo, Sweden, where green roofs and tree-planting helped to improve an area.

Learning from best practice is essential, according to CABE senior research adviser Paula Vandergert. But she warned that there is a severe lack of skills and a coherent database of green space in the UK.

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