For the first time ever, in news that will be of interest to many considering arboricultural training, all of England and Wales’ trees have been officially counted. The wonders of aerial mapping technology have enabled an exhaustive tree survey to be carried out, revealing there to be some 280 million trees in Britain.
Some of the findings of the resultant National Tree Map by Bluesky are surprising, such as the news that Greater London and Surrey boast the highest concentration of trees, more than many of the country’s most rural areas. Greater London’s average tree coverage was 21.5 per cent, with other areas of the capital to rank prominently in the list of 347 districts and boroughs including Camden (16th, with 30.27 per cent), Croydon (18th, with 30.17 per cent) and Harrow (22nd, with 28.1 per cent).
The City of London, however, languished down in 342nd place, due to its meagre 4.38 per cent tree coverage. Every tree measuring three metres or above in height was included in the survey, in which the highest-performing area for coverage was Surrey Heath, with 40.6 per cent, followed by another part of Surrey – Waverley – with 40.2 per cent, and Bracknell Forest in Berkshire, where coverage was 39.8 per cent.
Indeed, of the top 10 ranking areas, seven – also including Runnymede (37.8 per cent), Woking (36.9 per cent), Mole Valley (36.8 per cent), Elmbridge (36.2 per cent) and Guildford (35.8 per cent) – were in Surrey, with Neath Port Talbot in Wales figuring in ninth with 32 per cent, while New Forest, Hampshire’s 31.4 per cent figure was enough for it to round out the top 10.
James Eddy, Bluesky’s technical director, attributed Surrey’s dominance in the rankings to “the big gardens and big houses with all the trees. [In more rural areas] they have taken out huge rows of trees and grown crops — that doesn’t go on in Surrey. We were also quite surprised at London and how green it is.”
Officially the least green parts of England and Wales, meanwhile, are South Holland and Boston in Lincolnshire, where a mere 2.1 per cent tree coverage was recorded. They were closely followed in this ranking by the 2.3 per cent of Fenland in Cambridgeshire and the 2.5 per cent observed for Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria.
Rachel Tidmarsh, Bluesky’s managing director added: “It’s really interesting to be able to blow some preconceived ideas out of the window and dispel many popular misconceptions that surround the way we view the places where we work, live and play.”