BTC/74/2012 - Reversing the Trend of Urban Deforestation in the UK. Sitelines – The Journal of Landscape Architecture in British Columbia (October 2012)
The UK has a robust national green belt planning policy that seeks to prevent urban extensions into rural areas and confine new development within existing settlement boundaries. This has been very successful at restricting urban sprawl and conserving our unique rural character, but it has put immense pressure on green space within our towns and cities. Trees have been one of the most obvious casualties because they are sensitive to change and their multiple benefits were significantly undervalued when balancing development priorities. Those losses of existing trees have been compounded by ineffective new planting that often dies or struggles to mature into fitting replacements. These combined impacts have gradually eroded our urban canopy cover to the extent that the UK’s ability to adapt to climate change is becoming increasingly compromised.