New tree selection guide could become a countrywide blueprint

The resource will be used by highway planners to guide the re-establishment of trees along the highway and in the creation of new developments

Trees in small woodland

An innovative new resource which provides valuable guidance on the planting of trees and helps ensure that the right trees are planted in the right place has been developed by Leicestershire County Council. 

The Value of Trees toolkit has been created by the 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 now gone live on the council’s website and once tested, is proposed to be used by the authority’s highway planners to guide the re-establishment of trees along the highway and in the creation of new developments. 

The resource provides 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; and 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 now being piloted by the council, which hopes to work with a developer on a scheme – and may be adopted by other local authorities across the country as good practice. 

National planning policy and design guidance now has a greater emphasis around ‘beautiful places’ and trees improve not only the visual aspect, but also the environment for both people and wildlife. 

We are delighted to have taken the lead on the Value of Trees project, as it ties in perfectly with our vision for a greener Leicestershire.
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, 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.

Mark Kemp, President of ADEPT said: “Local authorities are planting trees as part of their plans to accelerate woodland creation and support their climate change agendas, but we are concerned about challenges that may be presented by diseases such as ash dieback.

“ADEPT wanted to measure the impact of ash dieback on local authorities and develop support for local authorities across the country, so we commissioned the Value of Trees project. We wanted to develop a considered strategy to delivering ecosystem services and create a consistent, evidence-based approach.

“This guidance document has the potential to become a decision-making framework for local authorities and others across the country and we hope it will also help to influence national policy.”

The Value of Trees toolkit can be accessed on the trees pages of the Leicestershire County Council website.


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