The Trees and Design Action Group (TDAG) has published a new guide on urban trees for all
those involved in making or influencing the decisions that shape our neighbourhoods towns and cities.
With over 80% of the UK’s population living in urban settings, trees in and around built-up areas –
which many call the “urban forest” – have become a key component of the infrastructure that makes
places work, look and feel better.
Trees in the Townscape, a Guide for Decision Makers takes a 21st century approach to urban
trees, one that keeps pace with and responds to the challenges of our times. It offers 12 actionoriented
principles spanning the range of planning, design, works and management issues that must
be addressed for maximum economic, social and environmental returns.
34 case studies provide real-life examples of the principles in action, giving insight into best practice
from all over England including Birmingham, Bristol, Hackney, Islington, Leeds, Newcastle, Oxford,
Plymouth, Torbay, and Sefton as well as from further afield including the US and Hong Kong!
In keeping with TDAG’s ethos of raising awareness of the role of trees in the built environment by
facilitating cross-sector and cross-disciplinary collaboration, the development of this new guide was
based on over 40 interviews and extensive consultation with civil engineers, insurers, developers,
designers, planners, tree officers, sustainability specialists, arboriculturists, tree nursery managers,
ecologists, academics and not-for-profit organisations dedicated to community engagement and trees.
This project also benefited from the generous financial support of an astoundingly diverse range of
Such bottom-up and collaborative approach has already paid back: Trees in the Townscape, a
Guide for Decision Makers promptly received endorsements from 11 organisations, including the
Forestry Commission, Bristol City Council, Birmingham City Council, York City Council, Torbay
Council, Newcastle City Council, the London Borough of Hackney, Westminster City Council, the
Victoria Business Improvement District, Peabody, Tor Homes…and hopefully, this is only a start!
Martin Kelly, Chair of TDAG, said:
“In the current challenging economic times, this guide provides timely advice on how to ensure that
investment to solve one problem also delivers, where possible, solutions to others. Urban trees
provide in this respect a fantastic resource.”
Pam Warhurst, Chair of the Forestry Commission, said:
"We have supported the TDAG right from the very beginning as a founding member. We are proud to
have been so involved in this excellent guide to support crucial local decision-making. Our councillors,
parish council members and communities involved in neighbourhood planning make important
decisions that affect the quality of life for all of us. They can now use sound, practical advice on how
to make space for trees in towns to ensure they grow to last a lifetime. Our urban forest - the
population of trees across our towns - will be better protected, improved and expanded through this
Trees in the Townscape, a Guide for Decision Makers was launched alongside two other
groundbreaking resources: a report quantifying and valuing tree benefits by the Victoria Business
Improvement District and a toolkit on tree management for social landlords by Neighbourhoods
Green. Together, these three resources provide the basis for a new departure in the way urban trees
are used and integrated as part of the infrastructure that make places work.
The full guide is available as a free PDF at http://www.tdag.org.uk/trees-in-the-townscape.html