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Planting Trees Could Benefit Economy by £366 Million

Planting Trees Could Benefit Economy by £366 Million
09 July 2021
 

FMs and space planners have long used trees and plants as a visually appealing addition to workspaces – but what about the financial benefit? 

Analysis conducted by academic researchers with the Place-based Climate Action Network at Queen’s University Belfast, found that planting trees and other efforts to recover natural destruction have a huge part to play in getting the country to net-zero and bring a range of other benefits.

The report, says that a conservative estimate of the economic benefit of a tree ranges from £1,200 to £8,000. Using this model, planting 6,000 trees strategically located across a large English town would provide benefits of £48 million over 50 years or nearly £1 million per year. 

The cost of an urban street tree starts at around £6 (excluding maintenance). The long-term economic benefits accrued over 50 years can be over £8,000 per tree. 

 

"Analysis by UK100 found that increasing the amount of woodland in the Greater Manchester area could generate 2,300 new jobs in the city region. The total benefit to Greater Manchester’s economy of air pollution filtration, stormwater attenuation, and carbon sequestration from our trees is over £30 million each year. It would cost over £4.7 billion to replace all Greater Manchester’s trees like for like."

–Polly Billington

Chief Executive, UK100

 

Creating Green Jobs

 

Planting trees, a useful way to remove carbon emissions out of the atmosphere and prevent flooding, could create 36,000 green jobs during the woodland restoration phase, generating £366 million in added value to the economy. Investments in restoring and sustainably managing woodland habitats create more jobs per unit of investment than more carbon-intensive sectors such as agriculture, gas, mass transit, aviation and freight rail construction: for every £710,000 invested in woodland restoration a total of 40 direct and indirect jobs are created. 

Researchers have shown that 25 jobs are created for every 100 hectares of woodland that are restored during the restoration phase. Increasing woodland would support 24,600 jobs across the West Midlands, 2,300 jobs in Greater Manchester, 2,250 jobs in Glasgow, 2,250 jobs in Leeds and 1,625 jobs in London. 

 

Shoppers Travel Further and Spent More Money in Green Areas

 

In particular, retail and hospitality businesses can benefit from such interventions, sectors that have been hard hit by the pandemic. Shoppers are willing to go shopping more frequently, travel further and visit for longer times in shopping areas with pleasant tree cover. Consumers in an academic study said they were willing to pay up to 12 per cent more for goods and services in shopping areas with large, well-cared for trees. 

Polly Billington, Chief Executive of UK100, said “Money really does grow on trees! Planting trees isn’t just good for our environment, it’s good for the economy - helping businesses to recover from the pandemic. It is also a way to address environmental inequalities and level up the UK.”

"The Great Northern Forest Scheme plans to plant 50 million trees in a new woodland that will join up Liverpool, Manchester and Lancaster with Leeds, Sheffield and Hull. An area home to 13 million people, it only has 7.6 per cent woodland cover – much lower than the England average.

"Analysis by UK100 found that increasing the amount of woodland in the Greater Manchester area could generate 2,300 new jobs in the city region. The total benefit to Greater Manchester’s economy of air pollution filtration, stormwater attenuation, and carbon sequestration from our trees is over £30 million each year. It would cost over £4.7 billion to replace all Greater Manchester’s trees like for like."

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, added “Investing in trees and improving our urban green spaces can help our residents to breathe cleaner air and can help to meet our climate ambitions. But it can also give our high streets and our wider economy a much-needed boost, bringing good green jobs to places across our city region. That’s why we’re planting a tree for every citizen of Greater Manchester through our City of Trees movement.”

 

The International Net Zero Local Leadership Summit

 

The International Net Zero Local Leadership Summit and Conference will be co-hosted by West Midland Mayor Andy Street and UK100’s Polly Billington.

The summit will be attended by more than 30 local leaders, including Sadiq Khan, Andy Burnham and a host of other leading figures from across the country, to discuss an enhanced partnership with the government in Westminster to move towards net-zero.

Amongst those joining them at the summit are Kwasi Kwarteng, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and Lord Deben, Chairman of the Climate Change Committee.

The conference will feature an address by Eric Garcetti, the Mayor of Los Angeles, and also involve an international networking session for local authorities with participants from cities all over the world, including Tokyo, Melbourne and Buenos Aires.

Picture: a photograph of a city featuring skyscrapers, roads and lots of green space

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 09 July 2021

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