Hinckley development used as pilot for innovative new tree selection guide

It will be used to make sure the right trees are planted in the right place

Tree in a street

A trailblazing pilot project to test out an innovative new resource to ensure the right trees are planted in the right place has seen new planting in Hinckley, in a partnership between Leicestershire County Council and developer Jelson Homes Limited.

The new trees have been planted by the council’s forestry team in Faray Drive, with species being selected for their environmental and visual benefits, using the pioneering Value of Trees toolkit.

The toolkit was developed by Leicestershire County Council, working with consultants Treeconomics. It was commissioned by the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning & Transport (ADEPT), and funded by the Rees Jeffreys Road Fund.

It has been developed to be used by designers to guide the re-establishment of trees along the highway and in the creation of new developments, and to help identify the best species for new and replacement planting.

The Value of Trees toolkit has been used by the council, working in partnership with Jelson Homes Limited, to select the best new trees for the Faray Drive site.

The new magnolia, scarlet birch, alder, frosted thorn and Freeman’s maple trees have now been planted in place of the previous hornbeams, which had to be removed. Some of the trees had died and others failed to thrive.

The 30 new trees were chosen for their tolerance of site soil conditions and environmental benefits, including carbon storage, erosion prevention, flood management and reducing air pollution. They will also improve the landscape with their appearance throughout the year and increase biodiversity.

If the Hinckley pilot is a success, the Value of Trees toolkit will be added to the Highway Design Guide and used across the county to identify the best trees for new developments, new planting, and tree replacement projects. It is also hoped that the Value of Trees toolkit will be used as a blueprint and aid for other developers and adopted by other local authorities across the country as good practice.

We are delighted to have taken the lead on the Value of Trees project, and to be trialling it in partnership with Jelson Homes Limited at its Faray Drive development in Hinckley.

We are committed to protecting and increasing the tree population, as well as replacing those many trees that we have lost to pests and diseases such as ash dieback. We have made a pledge to help plant at least 700,000 trees across the county, we have a Tree Charter and Tree Management Strategy in place and an action plan to deal with ash dieback.

The development and use of the Value of Trees toolkit takes this one step further, as it’s all about having the right tree in the right place. We want trees to continue to be a feature of the Leicestershire landscape and we want to ensure we make informed choices about what we plant.

Councillor Blake Pain, cabinet member for the environment and the green agenda

Hannah Bartram, Chief Executive Officer of ADEPT, said: “The Value of Tools toolkit was developed as we wanted to measure the impact of ash dieback and, at the same time, develop support for local authorities across the country as they accelerate woodland creation.

“The toolkit is an important set of documents, that has the potential to shape both our local landscapes and influence national policy.”

The Value of Trees toolkit provides detailed information on how to select the right species of tree for specific locations; the cost of looking after trees over their lifetime; best practice on planting and maintaining trees to ensure they thrive; guidance on the monetary value of different species in terms of the ecosystem benefits they provide, such as carbon storage, erosion prevention, flood management and reducing air pollution.

There is also a trees species selection tool, which helps planners decide on the right species for planting in a particular location, depending on the local environmental conditions and the required characteristics of the trees.

The toolkit will allow the council to draw up ideas for the Leicestershire landscape of the future; factoring in such details as climate change and how that might affect species choice and the planting design of trees and hedges.

The Value of Trees toolkit is available on our Trees website.

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