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Cardiff Council implementing Woodland Trust nature recovery recommendations


Cardiff Council has welcomed a recently published Woodland Trust policy paper setting out the importance of trees and woods for nature recovery in Wales and making five key recommendations for local authorities.

Cabinet Member for Culture, Parks and Events, Cllr Jennifer Burke, said: "The rapid decline of nature in Wales and beyond in recent years is deeply concerning and since declaring a nature emergency in 2021, the Council has taken significant steps to support its recovery, and has already implemented, or begun to implement, all of the measures that the Woodland Trust recommend local authorities should take."

"At the heart of what we're doing is our ambitious urban forest project, Coed Caerdydd. Part of our strategic approach to tree and woodland management, the project aims to increase tree canopy coverage in Cardiff from 18.9% to 25% by 2030, by planting an area of roughly 839 hectares with mainly native species of trees.

"We're off to a fantastic start, with 50,000 trees planted on council and some privately-owned land over just two planting seasons - and that's down in no small part to the community volunteers who help us plant them, but who also help identify potential planting sites, help choose the trees, and provide additional support and care for the trees as they grow. With support from the Woodland Trust, we're also developing a Tree Nursery at Forest Farm where we are propagating native stock of local provenance, which can then be planted as part of the project.

"But our plans don't end there. We recently secured £1.3 million of funding for our Local Nature Partnership to help continue our programme of pollinator-friendly planting and create and restore wildlife habitats. In consultation with residents, and with input from our tree and ecology officers, we're currently developing our Local Nature Action Recovery Plan which will set out a range of actions needed to help restore nature in Cardiff."

"Cardiff needs to grow in order to support new jobs and provide much-needed homes for people, but it's important that growth is managed in a sustainable way that supports nature. That's why, as part of our replacement Local Development Plan we're aiming to ensure that all development achieves a net gain in biodiversity, and protecting well in excess of 5,500 hectares of countryside and river valleys in the city from development."

"On top of that, we're training volunteers to identify ancient and veteran trees, to help increase understanding of the city's tree heritage and encourage their protection."

Director of Coed Cadw - the Woodland Trust, Natalie Buttriss, said: "We welcome the steps Cardiff Council are taking towards meeting our recommendations for investing in tree cover to deliver the interrelated goals of nature recovery and community wellbeing. We look forward to an integrated tree and woodland strategy for Cardiff, one that secures all the benefits that mature trees provide and increases tree cover especially in those parts of the city with a low tree equity score."

The Woodland Trust's recommendations for Local Authorities, are:

  1. Declare a nature emergency in preparation for a Nature Positive Act and embed into the council's Tree and Woodland Strategy the actions needed to restore nature.
  2. Employ a specialist ecologist and a tree officer to ensure that biodiversity is at the heart of all decision making.
  3. Deliver more collaborative multi-landowner initiatives, especially in national parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs): applying tree cover to help drive landscape-scale nature recovery and deliver the priorities identified in Area Statements.
  4. In urban areas, protect woods and trees and associated semi-natural habitats, and support active conservation management through rigorous application of Planning Policy Wales and Natural Resources Wales (NRW) guidance to reduce pressure on nature.
  5. Co-design and implement tree strategies with communities - building community understanding and resilience across all departments and delivering increased access to nature while supporting its recovery.


What we have done:

  • Declared a nature emergency.
  • Employed tree officers and an ecologist.
  • Worked with communities to identify potential sites and tree types, for planting.
  • Planted 50,000 new trees as part of our ‘Coed Caerdydd' urban forest project with the help of community volunteers who also provide additional care for the trees as they grow.
  • Established a new Tree Nursery at Forest Farm.
  • Agreed to protect well in excess of 5,500 hectares of countryside and river valleys in the city from development as part the Preferred Strategy for our replacement Local Development Plan.
  • Trained volunteers to identify ancient and veteran trees in Cardiff.

What we're aiming to do:

  • Plant a further 30,000 trees this planting season.
  • Increase tree canopy coverage in Cardiff from 18.9% to 25% by 2030, planting approximately 839 hectares of land with mainly native species of tree.
  • Grow our own supply of local provenance native trees from seed, for planting in Cardiff.
  • Ensure that all development achieves a net gain in biodiversity.
  • Publish a Local Nature Action Recovery Plan that sets out the actions needed to support nature in Cardiff.