Levels of urban greenery in the UK are declining, with new places less green than old places, and many councils cutting down old trees while failing to plant new ones, reveals a new report by campaign group Create Streets.
Access to greenery needs levelling-up, states the report, noting that the ten most prosperous places in the UK have 25% tree canopy cover while the ten least prosperous have 15%.
Between 2001 and 2018 urban greenspace in England declined from 63% of the urban area to 55%, says the report.
Recently created neighbourhoods have up to 40% less greenery than late nineteenth and early twentieth century neighbourhoods.
Create Streets’ project, funded by property developer Berkeley Group, involved an extensive literature review and new primary research.
The report offers detailed policy recommendations including:
Jon Burke, climate change and decarbonisation lead at Gloucester City Council, said: “Create Streets’ Greening Up report is essential reading for any policymaker with an interest in the enormous power of green infrastructure to address the 21st Century urban challenges of heatwaves, surface water flooding, and biodiversity collapse, while improving people’s physical and mental wellbeing, supporting ‘store-front’ businesses, and even eliminating crime.”
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