Salisbury City Council strives to improve the area’s biodiversity with new Tree & Ecosystem Strategy

By Nick Batten on 29 March, 2023

While the UK may be known for its green fields and lush countryside, it is actually one of the countries in the world where biodiversity is in the worst state, with one in seven native species facing extinction and more than 40% in decline. 

As well as practical actions already taken to address this decline in Salisbury, such as wildflower planting, long grass areas, swift box installation and wildlife meadow creation, Salisbury City Council has been working with Environmental Consultants – Johns Associates Ltd and The Woodland Trust, to produce a Tree & Ecosystem Strategy. The strategy is a comprehensive and enduring document that provides the Council and wider community information on current tree stock, identifies suitable land for further planting and advises on which species of tree would be most suited to that area. 

The National Tree Atlas data has been used, to confirm the percentage of canopy coverage per ward on land owned and maintained by Salisbury City Council. This ranges between 6% and 20%. The data also confirms the percentage of canopy coverage per ward on the land as a whole (not just owned or maintained by Salisbury City Council). This ranges between 5% and 18%. The national average urban tree canopy cover is 15.8%.

Rosie Walker, Regional External Affairs Officer for the Woodland Trust said, “Woods and trees are important. They provide shelter and shade, improve air quality and provide homes for wildlife. They are also part of our heritage and important for our health and well-being. Salisbury has some amazing trees that the residents are very proud of and with over 12,000 of them in the city, they certainly help to make it a beautiful place to live and work.

“I have been pleased to have been able to feed into the tree strategy. It will provide the foundation to coordinate efforts to manage the existing trees and decide where we can plant more trees or create woodland for people, climate and nature.”  

The Tree & Ecosystem Strategy will also help provide a robust evidence base, to apply for central government grant funding to plant more trees and enhance habitats for wildlife in our city. This is something City Council officers are now actively exploring.

One of the Leaders of the Council, Cllr Annie Riddle added, “Salisbury City Council is committed to planting more trees around the City to help increase biodiversity, provide more homes for wildlife and reduce pollution. We ask local landowners in Salisbury for their help to plant more so we can reach and surpass the national average for tree canopy cover.”