London iTree Results Highlight Value of Urban Trees
The results of the London iTree urban forest survey were published on the 2nd December 2015 in the House of Lords, offering a definitive monetary value for the city’s urban trees.
Flood and air pollution reduction were some of the key benefits reavealed in the survey results. It found that each year London trees remove 2241 tonnes of pollution, at a value of £126m per annum. Trees also prevent nearly 3½ million cubic metres of water from entering the drainage system, therefore reducing the risk of flooding and water pollution events. This is the equivalent of 1365 Olympic swimming pools with a monetary value of £2.8m per year.
Furthermore the survey found that London’s trees store 2.4 million tonnes of carbon and they sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to reduce the impact of climate change. This is equivalent to the carbon produced from 26 billion vehicle miles.
Attending the launch event in December was the host Lord Framlingham, Environment Minister Rory Stewart, Sir Harry Studholme FICFor (Hon) (FC Chair) and ICF Executive Director Shireen Chambers FICFor.
Lord Framlingham and Sir Harry Studholme with i-Tree report
Environment Minister, Rory Stewart, said: “Our trees and forests have long been central to British identity. But we are beginning to understand with even more precision, just how important they are to our air quality, our health and our happiness. This is a fantastic initiative. And it sits very well alongside our drive to plant an additional 11 million trees in this parliament, and to support green spaces across the country.”
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: “London is one of the greenest, leafiest cities on the planet and as this survey proves, our canopy does a ‘tree mendous’ job of lowering pollution, alleviating flood water and boosting our environment.”
Craig Harrison MICFor, Forestry Commission London Manager said: “The i-Tree report shows some of the ways in which London’s trees enhance our daily lives, and many of the trees we enjoy today are the legacy of past tree planting. But London’s trees face challenges such as development pressures, climate change and disease. With the expected increase in London’s population the need for more trees will increase – so we need to protect existing trees and plant new trees – to ensure London remains an enjoyable place to live, work and visit.”