We all know how essential trees are for ourselves and the environment. Many studies have shown that places rich in trees not only help tackle climate change by cutting carbon emissions and increase biodiversity but can also help to improve mental health and physical wellbeing.
Nowadays a huge percentage of the population lives in urban areas where strong growth in new development and infrastructure is threatening to reduce the amount of tree cover. Even though Birmingham stands out with approximately 18% canopy cover (the UK’s average is 13%), some more effort will be required in order to reach the Friends of the Earth’s target of doubling tree cover by 2045, if we are to tackle climate change. Some wards in Birmingham have as low as 9% tree cover!
There are many transportation and infrastructure projects that are having a negative impact on tree cover. For example, one of the city centre’s oldest collections of mature trees on Park Street was recently removed to make way for HS2. Our ancient wood, Park Hall, is also due to be felled to make way for this destructive project. This wood (and pool) houses; otters, bats, water voles, kingfishers, great crested newts, reed buntings, mute swans, buzzards, common toads, common frogs, lapwings, snipe, herons, and many other birds, butterflies, dragonflies and moths. As it also contains a wetland habitat; bluebells, ransomes, stitchwort, buttercups, meadowsweet, teal, wood anemones, yellow archangel and a variety of fungi are also present.
Another example is the proposed widening of Moseley Road through Balsall Heath to Moseley village. This will require the removal of a number of trees. Similar issues are observed on Walsall Road and Dudley Road.
The A45 sprint route, whilst a good idea in principle using electric buses in their own lane, is fundamentally flawed as the intention is to build an extra lane in each direction, thus not reducing other motorised traffic, and destroying in the region of 1800 trees all told in the process. We are asking the council to act in line with their recognition of the climate emergency, by using existing lanes for the sprint buses.
It’s not just large scale projects that threaten our trees. Each year there are a substantial number of requests for tree removals to facilitate footway crossing, either to create new off-street parking or to create new access roads for new developments.