Lib Dems are proposing that the city’s primary schools are invited to participate in a new scheme through which each year 4 pupil will be given a tree for planting at home, in a designated part of a public space or on school grounds. This is estimated at providing the city with up to 5000 newtrees over the next 5 years.
The city’s school children could each receive a tree to plant in order to improve Cambridge’s tree cover, under a plan from Liberals Democrats on the City Council.
Lib Dems are proposing that the city’s primary schools are invited to participate in a new scheme through which each year 4 pupil will be given atree for planting at home, in a designated part of a public space or on school grounds. This is estimated at providing the city with up to 5000 newtrees over the next 5 years.
The scheme is part of a campaign they are proposing to boost the city’s tree cover, which experts say is surprisingly low compared with other cities and towns of a similar size. With the City Council providing a selection of young trees, the Lib Dems want to engage schools to include in the initiative both an education about the importance of trees to the urban environment, and how to plant and care for them.
“This scheme is an imaginative way of spreading ownership of our need as a city for more trees,” says Lib Dem spokesperson Ysanne Austin. “With 77% of the city’s land in private ownership, we are only going to increase tree cover with people planting in their own gardens as well as public and commercial organisations on their land.”
“Trees in the urban environment have a range of positive benefits for the whole community,” says Ysanne. “They remove particulate pollution from the atmosphere. By shading and cooling they reduce the ‘heat island effect’ within cities, which is likely to grow with global warming. They act as ‘carbon pools’ to mitigate climate change. By increasing soil water storage, trees reduce storm water run-off and flood potential. And quite apart from their obvious aesthetic value, trees have been found to relate to overall human wellbeing.
The Lib Dems are proposing their scheme with schools as the leading feature of a new 5-year tree planting programme by the City Council costing £35,000 annually. Through this, they aim also to generate additional contributions from other organisations both commercial and public and strive for the 2% increase suggested in the report commissioned by the Council in 2013.
“The previous 5-year programme of £25,000pa, started by the Lib Dems when in office, runs out this year with no apparent plan from Labour to continue it,” says Ysanne. “It is a priority for us not only to see this is continued, but to step it up a level, given the increased demands for action on climate change.”