The council is excited to announce the successful achievement of the ambitious target to plant 20,000 trees in the town by 2026, underscoring its commitment to environmental sustainability...
Since the launch of the forward-thinking tree-planting initiative in 2020, remarkable progress has been made. Thousands of new trees in the town have significantly enhanced the urban landscape, supported biodiversity, and contributed to improved air quality within the community.
This substantial milestone was reached through two tree giveaways in 2022, which saw 10,000 trees distributed to residents in February and 4,000 in December. Another giveaway in 2023 saw 9,024 trees requested by the community. The active involvement of local residents, businesses, and community groups played a pivotal role in the success of the giveaways.
In addition to the giveaways, trees have been planted along highways and roads, with Watford breaking its own records year-on-year for street tree planting, with just under 400 since 2021. The value of trees outside woodlands is estimated at over £3.8 billion nationally (© Forest Research and Defra), as they play a vital role in carbon sequestration, temperature regulation, flood resilience, and the reduction of noise and air pollution.
Over 1,000 trees have also been planted in parks not only enhance the visual appeal and leisurely value of these spaces but also to contribute to shade, supporting local biodiversity, and creating inviting environments for visitors. The introduction of the new trees in parks and highways is set to increase the town's canopy cover from 18.2%, already 2% above the national average.
With the town surpassing the 20,000 tree-planting target ahead of schedule, it means that Watford is making significant strides toward its broader sustainability goals and the transition to a net-zero carbon town by 2030. The newly planted trees are expected to absorb approximately 60,000 pounds (about 435 metric tons) of carbon dioxide annually.
Elected Mayor of Watford, Peter Taylor, said: “When I was elected, I set a goal of helping to plant 20,000 trees by 2026 in the town. Watford has not only met but exceeded this target, so thank you to everyone in the community who has helped create a greener and healthier environment.
“The town is now adorned with new trees, providing shade and enhancing our well-being. I am really grateful to the many people who have made this happen – from staff at the council and Veolia, to local residents and community organisations. Together we are making Watford a more sustainable town.”
The scheme has also been supported by the Forestry Commission’s Local Authority Treescapes Fund since 2020. In addition, many of the tree locations were suggested by residents, and requests can still be submitted throughout the year at www.watford.gov.uk/treeplanting.