THE WEST Midlands has shown its commitment to the environment by planting trees at a rate of 300-a-day.
More than 320,000 have now been registered on the West Midlands Combined Authority’s (WMCA) Virtual Forest – an increase of 120,000 over the past year.
The latest figures come as part of the United Nations’ World Environment Day which took place on Monday.
Planting new trees and hedgerow is one of the priorities of the West Midlands Natural Environment Plan, which sets out to increase the region’s tree cover to 13 per cent and help the region become net zero by 2041.
Since January 2020, the WMCA has been encouraging residents and businesses to make their own contribution by registering the trees they have planted on the Virtual Forest.
Coun Ian Courts, the WMCA’s portfolio holder for environment and energy, and leader of Solihull Council, said: “The value of trees and hedgerows can never be understated.
“For example, in Solihull alone the Planting our Future campaign is committed to planting 250,000 trees within 10 years.
“They play an important part in the natural environment, helping us to mitigate and adapt to climate change, as well as bringing multiple benefits for people’s physical and mental health, especially in urban areas.
“It’s a great achievement that our region is planting trees at such an impressive rate with 320,000 now registered on our Virtual Forest.
“This has taken a big effort from all corners of our region and one we will all benefit from for many generations to come.”
The authorirty has also commissioned the first region-wide survey to count the exact number of trees, their health, and environmental benefit.
The i-Tree survey, to be undertaken in partnership with Treeconomics, will measure canopy cover across Birmingham, Coventry and Solihull to see exactly where the tree cover is and set a baseline for measuring planned increases over time.
It is being funded by a £300,000 grant given to the WMCA from the Woodland Trust’s Emergency Tree Fund – one of the first projects in the UK to receive support through Amazon’s $100million Right Now Climate Fund.
Visit www.wmvirtualforest.co.uk to register a tree on the Virtual Forest.