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Plant trees in existing streets, not just new developments, says RTPI

  • #ReTreeFit campaign launched to ensure everyone can benefit from ‘aesthetic joys, and environmental and wellbeing bonus’ of trees

  • New survey says 96% of planners think trees are very important in their work

  • Government called on to fund planning authorities to ensure all communities have access to trees and nature, not just those living in new developments

The Government’s focus on the vital role of trees in new housing developments should be expanded to include existing properties, says the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).

While welcoming plans to ensure residents in new developments have access to ‘tree-lined streets’, the RTPI points out that all communities should benefit from the many positives of living within close proximity to trees and nature.   

To ensure all people, no matter where they live, benefit from the aesthetic joys, positive environmental impact, air quality improvement and wellbeing bonus of trees, the RTPI has today launched a #ReTreeFit campaign, calling on Government to provide the necessary resources to Local Planning Authorities for the retro-fitting of trees in existing spaces and communities.

RTPI President Wei Yang FRTPI said:

“We were delighted to hear the Housing Secretary saying last year that tree-lined streets should become the norm in new developments, but it is essential that we don’t forget about the majority of the population. Trees and nature should be accessible for everyone - not just those who buy a house in a new development.  

“The contribution of planners will be crucial if trees are to be placed successfully into existing schemes. With many local authorities not having sufficient resources to deal with non-fee earning activities like tree planting, we’re asking the UK government to provide funds to allow planners to retro-fit trees in the right places. It’s not just for us - it’s for our future generations.

“I invite everyone to get involved on social media with our #ReTreeFit campaign today.”

A recent RTPI survey found that planners overwhelmingly support a nationwide push for tree planting in both new developments and existing communities. 96% of respondents said that trees are important to their work in creating healthy, attractive, environmentally and climatically sustainable places.

There was also agreement among respondents that trees cannot simple be placed into existing developments without thought. The contribution of planners and local authority tree experts will be vital to identify the optimal solution for each space to ensure residents have greenery of some form, as well as trees located within easy reach.

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