Thursday, August 27, 2015

Victoria's Green Matters - 27th August 2015

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury:

It is becoming more and more obvious that we need to live with trees in our communities. It was in 1984 that Roger Ulrich discovered that hospital patients recovered more quickly from surgery if they had a view of trees from their room. Since then there has been a growing body of scientific evidence that has shown that health and, indeed, wealth benefits from trees in our cities.

In Toronto, recent research has shown that people living on tree-lined streets demonstrated health benefits equivalent to being seven years younger or receiving a £6,000 rise in salary; studies have shown that many benefits occur, including improved mental health and lower rates of asthma.

Despite all the evidence to show that ‘trees are good for us’, no government department is actually responsible for the health of urban trees throughout our nation. Conversely, government owned woodland is looked after by the Forestry Commission. Urban trees remain the responsibility of local councils whose finances are stretched, often in too many directions, to include the health of their trees.

It has been shown that trees provide a valuable service to city streets and their inhabitants by absorbing carbon, removing pollution and storing rainwater allowing it to be evaporated by the sun rather than pouring straight down the drains. Trees that are near buildings reduce the need for air conditioning in the summer and even heating bills in winter.

It is vitally important for us to look after our trees and to ensure that their value is realised.

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