Worldwide, urban trees are under threat from pollution, disease and the pressures of the developing world. As a result over the last 100 years the tree canopy in our towns and cities has significantly declined.
The loss of trees in our urban environment reduces liveability. Balancing our borough's growth, whilst protecting the environment, maintaining vibrant public spaces, creating recreational opportunities and fostering economic growth is an increasing and on-going challenge.
Trees contribute to our environment in many ways; they improve the quality of the air, removing dust particles and harmful gas omissions such as carbon dioxide. Trees in urban areas help to reduce the heat island effect, reduce soil erosion and flash flooding by slowing down and capturing fast flowing water. In addition our trees help to improve biodiversity and provide landscape character whilst also adding a sense of place to our town centre, neighbourhoods and parks. These benefits all help to improve our health and wellbeing and in turn improve the quality of life for those who live and work in Fareham.
Whilst the Council recognise the benefits trees provide we also know that on occasion trees can cause a nuisance and localised difficulties. The Council's Tree Strategy aims to minimise these problems by prioritising resources and delivering a proactive tree inspection and maintenance programme.
The impacts of climate change are already being felt and the challenge will be to constantly increase awareness in our communities of the long-term commitment to the urban forestry at a local level. As Fareham continues to urbanise, this need increases, as does our obligation to enhance the quality of life in Fareham through healthy urban trees, which can deliver their multiple benefits.
The Council's Tree Strategy is currently being reviewed with a proposed draft plan for the next ten years, which sets out actions ranging from improving tree care to more challenging opportunities for enhancing the tree canopy coverage borough-wide. It sets out ways in which our communities, developers and the Borough Council can work together to achieve the necessary space for sustaining and enhancing the urban forest in years to come.
This strategy recognises that residents like to have trees nearby and understand that trees provide an increasing important legacy for future generations.