Trees are vital in towns and cities. They offer welcome shade in hot weather and can help reduce the impact of flooding, especially if surrounded by bare soil or grass rather than concrete. Apparently for example, London's trees catch enough water on their leaves to fill 1365 Olympic Swimming Pools, stopping that water from causing flooding on hard roads and pavements. This article from Anthropocene, evaluates the benefits of megacity trees, while this article from the Nature Conservancy talks about the role trees can play in reducing environmental injustice.
However, not all towns and cities value their street trees! Sheffield, in Yorkshire, England, is often considered to be a green city (and in many ways is) but has blotted its copybook recently by it's ill advised street maintenance contract, which has seen many of its street trees destroyed or threatened with destruction - including an ancient elm tree that is home to a rare butterfly! You can read the Woodland Trust's latest article about the situation in Sheffield here.
The Trust are aware of the great value of street trees in all our built up areas and they are encouraging people to join their Celebration of Street Trees!
They have developed a Street Trees Celebration Starter Kit to help you build community relations and celebrate your local trees. In November 2017, they want everyone to show how much they care for their local trees and take part in a tree dressing day as part of National Tree Week. They will then hold an awards ceremony to highlight the biggest and best events. The more people you can get together and the more events and celebrations you can run, the greater chance there is that your street will be chosen for an award.
The Woodland Trust have also recently been involved in a consultation on trees and road building, which you can read about here.
woman and child statue with street trees, Festival Square, Edinburgh. You can read more about this statue here.