Portsmouth set to go green with new strategy

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Portsmouth City Council 2016Ambitious plans to plant 30,000 new trees across Portsmouth are at the heart of a new greening strategy aiming to improve air quality, mental wellbeing and physical health.

Portsmouth City Council's Cabinet is set to review proposals for a variety of new schemes to not only safeguard the city's existing greenery and open spaces but build on what we have and work towards doubling the amount of tree canopy.

Having more trees in an area has been found to improve mental wellbeing as well as encouraging exercise meaning people are more physically healthy. Extra trees also provide more resilience to climate change and improve the local environment by attracting insects and other plants to increase biodiversity.

It will also make Portsmouth a more attractive destination for people to visit and work, meaning a potential boost for the economy.

The 30,000 trees would be planted over 25 years with 12,000 put on roads, parks and other open spaces while the rest would be on private land. While residents wanting to get involved will be encouraged to plant trees in their gardens, the majority of those on private land will be in places such as schools, sports clubs, pub gardens and land owned by large organisations based in the city like the Royal Navy and NHS.

The strategy builds on the council's existing commitment to ensure any tree removed is replaced by at least one new one.

However greening is about more than trees and there are also plans to improve other planting such as hedges and shrubbery while also looking for innovative solutions to increase the city's green footprint by introducing features like roof planting and green walls which see purpose built structures covered in plants.

If the plans go ahead there will be a big push to inform residents about the upcoming activity, how it will benefit the city and how they can get involved.

Cllr Steve Pitt, Deputy Leader of the council, said: "Green space is a big issue in a densely populated city like Portsmouth and we need to make sure we take full advantage of any opportunity to increase the amount and quality of greenery. These plans can help improve citywide issues such as air quality while also making a difference to people's health and wellbeing. I know it's something residents are passionate about and I hope my colleagues support the proposals."