2017 was a big year for street trees. We launched in April with our offer of free celebration kits for communities all around the UK. Demand was encouraging and we had soon distributed 500 kits. As the year progressed, we saw some positive action. Neighbours and community groups getting together to celebrate the trees on their street and making full use of the resources we provided. We’ve even had councillors and council officers contacting us to find out more about the project!
We’ve met some fascinating people over the last year. It’s heartening to know how many passionate people are out there fighting for urban trees. There are campaigners protesting at their loss, residents taking tree planting into their own hands, officers working hard to improve canopy cover, and folks petitioning their authorities to do more. Most importantly we’ve met hundreds of people passionate about trees, keen to do something and embarking on the Street Trees journey. It’s not easy, but nothing worth fighting for ever is.
What’s happening now
Of course it’s not just about parties and community cohesion (though let’s face it that’s a positive result). There’s a serious ask behind the Street Trees project. We will fight the corner of trees wherever we can, but we can’t do it alone. We need those communities and more beside to get campaigning. It won’t have escaped your attention that there are ongoing struggles. Sheffield Tree Action Groups (STAG) continue their determined efforts to prevent more felling of their beloved trees – and that situation escalates. The Isle of Wight community in East Cowes is battling to save its iconic Umbrella tree planted by Queen Victoria’s gardener no less – we're pleased to say they seem to be making progress with negotiations. There are even reports of Wandsworth council seeking to ban tree climbing. You read that correctly – ban tree climbing!