Planting trees could benefit economy by £366 million and create 36,000 jobs
Planting trees and other efforts to recover natural destruction have a huge part to play in getting the country to Net Zero and bring a range of other benefits including creating good green jobs, boosting the economy and cutting crime, says new research published by UK100.
The analysis, by academic researchers with the Place-based Climate Action Network at Queen’s University Belfast, looks at the economic benefits of climate action by local authorities.
At an international summit to be co-hosted by UK100 and the Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, mayors and local leaders will call on the Government to devolve further powers on energy, transport and housing to meet their Net Zero ambitions.
The group argue that a clear target must be added to the Environment Bill to reverse the decline in species and habitats by 2030, supported by the appropriate resourcing of Local Nature Recovery Strategies.
The report says that a conservative estimate of the economic benefit of a tree ranges from £1,200 to £8,000. Using this model, planting 6,000 trees strategically located across a large English town would provide benefits of £48m over 50 years, or nearly £1m per year.
Planting trees, a useful way to remove carbon emissions out of the atmosphere and prevent flooding, could create 36,000 green jobs during the woodland restoration phase, generating £366 million in added value to the economy. Investments in restoring and sustainably managing woodland habitats create more jobs per unit of investment than more carbon-intensive sectors such as agriculture, gas, mass transit, aviation and freight rail construction.
In particular, retail and hospitality businesses can benefit from such interventions, sectors that have been hard hit by the pandemic. Shoppers are willing to go shopping more frequently, travel further and visit for longer times in shopping areas with pleasant tree cover. Consumers in an academic study said they were willing to pay up to 12% more for goods and services in shopping areas with large, well cared for trees.
Polly Billington, chief executive of UK100, said “Money really does grow on trees! Planting trees isn’t just good for our environment, it’s good for the economy - helping businesses to recover from the pandemic. It is also a way to address environmental inequalities and level up the UK.”