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Plans to increase Watford's tree canopy get the go ahead

Watford Borough Council has unveiled its plan to increase the town’s tree canopy cover from 18% to 20% over the next ten years after an ambitious Tree and Woodland Strategy was agreed at Cabinet earlier this month.

Large numbers of trees will be planted in green spaces and woods across the town while Watford’s older tree population will continue to be maintained and conserved for future generations.

The council currently manages thousands of trees across 506 hectares of public open space including the woodlands of Whippendell Wood, Harebreaks Wood, Albans Wood and woodland areas in Oxhey Park, and Orchard Park. Whippendell Wood accounts for a large percentage of the current canopy but there are opportunities to increase this cover in other parts of the town, including parks and playing fields.

Watford also has a street tree population of 5230 trees which will be boosted with more planting. These trees are an integral part of the urban landscape – they are valued by residents for contributing to a greener environment, for the pleasing aesthetics they create and for the health and wellbeing qualities they impart.

Elected Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor said, “I’m delighted that we’ve agreed to plant lots more trees in our town. Trees provide massive benefits for our environment and help make our air cleaner. The new trees won’t just be in our award winning parks, woodlands and open spaces but also on local streets. We are working hard with local community groups, businesses and Veolia to make our parks and green spaces even better. I am determined to make Watford a greener place to live and work.’

As well as playing a critical role in mitigating climate change, Watford’s 11,000 trees also improve air quality by absorbing pollutants such as ozone, nitrogen oxide, sulphur dioxide and carbon monoxide, and they help to regulate temperature by absorbing radiation. They help to alleviate flooding and they provide a valuable habitat for wildlife.

For more information about Watford’s local green spaces, please visit www.watford.gov.uk/parks.