Rother District Council is embarking on a ground-breaking one-year collaborative project as part of its Environment Strategy.
The Bexhill i-Tree study and a tree planting strategy will provide a much-needed framework for strategically informing future tree management and tree planting, paving the way for evidence-based approach. The project is supported internally by Environmental Health leading on air quality mitigation, Neighbourhood Services who look after trees in the Council’s parks and open spaces, and Planning that will used the results of the study to inform the Local Plan review, allowing to set tree canopy targets for new developments.
Why is this project important?
- Trees and woodlands are essential for healthy living. They represent critical green infrastructure for community health and planning, environmental sustainability and climate change resilience, e.g. by removing air pollution, buffering flooding, and regulating temperature.
- Whilst the rural Rother enjoys significant tree coverage, the tree canopy cover for Bexhill urban area is only 12.8% according to a recent study. In contrast, tree canopy cover in Farnham is 45%!
- For tree planting efforts to be effective in coastal parts of Bexhill-on-Sea, the environmentally challenging conditions for trees, i.e. strong winds, exposed areas, sea salt spray, and potentially saline intrusion, must be carefully considered.
The project offers an outstanding opportunity for community engagement; raising awareness about the value of trees amongst the public and actively engaging with local environmental groups. Our partners include the Woodland Trust, High Weald AONB, Friends of Combe Valley, Dallington Forest Project, and Bexhill Environmental Group.
Councillor Kathryn Field, Environmental Management Portfolio Holder and the Chair of the Rother Climate Change Steering Group explains:
“The project paves the way for evidence‐based approach to tree management and tree planting within the Rother District. It aligns with Rother District Council’s Environment Strategy’s priorities and will inform the new Rother Local Plan. Its output will result in a much-needed robust framework not only for the Rother District Council’s officers’ purposes but to guide efforts of the wider community – very pertinent given the increased interest in trees and tree planting at the time of climate emergency. After all, trees and woodlands are essential for healthy living. They represent critical green infrastructure for community health and planning, environmental sustainability and climate change resilience, e.g. by removing air pollution, buffering flooding, and regulating temperature.”
Bexhill Mayoress and Rother Councillor Lynn Langlands who is a member of the Climate Change Steering Group also supports the project:
“As a member of the Climate Change Steering Group and a Councillor for Bexhill I am passionate about real initiatives that will make a positive impact on our air quality, biodiversity and the natural environment. This project will not only enable us to catalogue and survey the precious resource that we currently have, but will help us to plan a programme of tree planting that will support our climate emergency targets.”
The Bexhill i-Tree study and a tree planting strategy featured in our recent Tree Hour webinar. You can read more here as well as watch the webinar recording here.
Project timescales: tree surveying will commence in the summer.
Help us give our Bexhill i-Tree study and a tree planting strategy a name!
We welcome suggestions on what to call our project
For inspiration, here are examples of other projects:
Please get in touch by emailing Environment.Strategy@rother.gov.uk
Published: 26th March 2021