West Midlands’ Trees worth billions, shows new study

by | Feb 6, 2024 | Latest, News

Results from a study of the trees across Birmingham, Solihull and Coventry, show the amenity value to be almost £50bn.

The study measured the size and structure of the region’s urban forest, its health and composition, and the benefits provided to the people who live and work in the area.

With over 80% of trees in the area found to be in either ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ condition, despite the region having comparatively low canopy cover to other areas.

The survey is reported to be one of the largest of its kind, covering over 1000 sample plots and almost three million trees from both public and private spaces.

Results show that the region has a tree population of around 2,970,000, this equates to around 1.7 trees per person, with a replacement cost of £1.85bn.

It is calculated that the trees in the region are actively removing 144 tonnes of air borne pollutants annually, a service valued at £11m, and over 33k tonnes of carbon, valued at over £32m per year.

While also diverting over 930k cubic metres of stormwater away from local sewers each year, which is worth an estimated £1.5m in avoided treatment costs.

Results also show species diversity in the region is positive, and although almost 70% of the tree population is native, the area can continue to introduce more non-native trees.

Despite canopy cover falling below the UK average of 16% at 13.8%, a further 14% of the region has been identified as ‘plantable’, “which will enable the councils to build strategic plans around tree planting, which will help ensure a green legacy for future generations,” says Ben Coles of Treeconomics.

It was also found that green spaces make up just over 35% of land cover in the West Midlands, a higher statistic than the average for Inner London (21%).

Coles goes on to say: “It is important to remember that trees are not just scenery; they’re an investment into a sustainable future.”