This week Portsmouth City Council approved a plan to expand green spaces in the city.
The plan includes introducing trees and plants to urban areas as well as creating a 'green grid' across the city to target areas of poor air quality. In a meeting held on Tuesday 6th November, the council agreed to take the plan to the next stage which will involve analysing the city street-by-street to see where new trees and shrubs are needed. A recent estimation showed that the city's tree canopy cover is just 14 per cent, similar to that of London.
Cllr Dowling, Cabinet Member for Planning, Regeneration and Economic Development at Portsmouth City Council, believes that increasing this would benefit all Portsmouth residents. "We know that the value of trees in the city is massive," he said. "It's not just about air quality and biodiversity, it's about quality of life and the impact on people's wellbeing. It's about creating an attractive city that is better to live in and to visit."
In addition to planting trees in individual streets, the council will also consider making enhancements to existing green spaces such as parks by landscaping and planting additional trees, shrubs and wildflowers.
The type, age and size of the trees will be decided based on a review of each site.
Cllr Dowling added: "Our hope is to considerably increase greenery in the city. In the next few months we will start by looking at areas where there are no trees and wide pavements; areas where we think it's beneficial to plant either trees or green plants."
Details on the targeted areas and numbers of trees needed will be known in the new year. The council will then identify funding for the scheme.
Currently Portsmouth has a known stock of more than 30,000 trees including 25,000 council-owned trees; 8,000 of which are managed by the city’s highways contractor and a further 3,000 that are protected through tree preservation orders.