This week, the Plymouth Natural Infrastructure team in collaboration with the Plymouth Tree Partnership organised a summit at the Devonport Guildhall to discuss Plymouth’s vision for trees. It was wonderful to see representatives from the public and private sectors as well as those from voluntary organisations such and the Plymouth Open Spaces Network. All give their time freely in order that the green and blue infrastructure of Plymouth, the city’s lifeblood, continues to pulse through the veins of its urban core.

One of the most heartwarming aspects of this whole event was the fact that elected representatives of the Council clearly recognise and value the work of the Natural Infrastructure team and its private sector partners.  Together, they are delivering a bold new vision to ensure that Plymouth’s canopy cover not only increases, but provides a much broader range of ecosystems services in the future. Councilor Michael Leaves, the Portfolio Holder for the Environment made clear the Council’s longstanding commitment to ensuring that Plymouth continues to grow in a sustainable manner and that economic vitality is concomitant with livability provided by a network of green infrastructure.

Richard Paton of the Forestry Commission introduced the bold new Urban Vision document, which we hope will gain the traction that it truly deserves.  It is vital that work such as this is disseminated widely across Local Authorities. Visioning is a process that needs the political ‘buy in’ that seems to be falling into place so well in Plymouth.

Attendees were treated to a workshop from representatives of Plymouth’s Institute of Digital Arts and Technology to scope out the opportunities for the public to engage in mapping trees across the city. Brainstorming the kind of data relating to urban trees we need to gather threw up all sorts of questions as to how and what we value.

The one and only Mr. Kenton Rogers of Treeconomics took us through the processes involved with mapping and valuing canopy cover and the urban forest before an afternoon session of workshops to really move forward with planning future actions.

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