The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations along with the Arbor Day Foundation has named Birmingham as a Tree City of the World for the second year running.
The international programme celebrates cities and towns across all continents that are committed to growing and maintaining their urban trees and forests and recognise the importance of trees in building healthy, resilient and happy cities.
To achieve recognition, Birmingham met the programme's five standards in order show the city’s dedication towards planting and conserving trees:
The city has a written statement by city leaders delegating responsibility for the care of trees within the municipal boundary to a staff member, a city department, or a group of citizen, called a Tree Board.
Set the Rules
The city has in place a law or an official policy that governs the management of forests and trees. These rules describe how work must be performed, often citing best practices or industry standards for tree care and worker safety, where and when they apply and penalties for non-compliance.
Know What You Have
The city has an updated inventory or assessment of the local tree resource so that an effective long-term plan for planting, care and removal of city trees can be established.
Allocate the Resources
The city has a dedicated annual budget for the routine implementation of the tree management plan.
The city holds an annual celebration of trees to raise awareness among residents and to acknowledge citizens and staff members who carry out the city tree programme.
Commenting, Birmingham City Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment, Councillor Waseem Zaffar said: “The role that trees play in mitigating for and adapting to the effects of climate change is well known, because of this, trees are a priority in our Route to Zero Plan and emerging planning documents.
“Being recognised as a Tree City of the World for a second year in a row is a great achievement and shows that Birmingham is dedicated to the sustainable management of its Urban Forest for the benefit of its citizens and the environment”.
Birmingham City Council’s Cabinet Member for Street Scene and Parks, Councillor John O’Shea added: “We know our parks and open spaces are some of Birmingham’s greatest assets, but this award also recognises the important work done by volunteers.
“Birmingham Tree People, our tree warden group, act as champions for trees, working with local communities and council officers to monitor, manage and raise awareness of the importance of trees in the landscape.
“Likewise, Birmingham Trees for Life engage with local groups and schools to plant trees in the city and since 2006 have planted over 90,000, and a network of friends groups across the city support this work by helping look after our parks.”
Five other areas in the UK have Tree Cities of the World status, including the London boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Camden and Ealing, as well as Bradford and Welwyn Hatfied.