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Cambridge City Council

Neighbourhood Canopy Campaign

Cambridge currently has 17% tree canopy cover – meaning leaves and branches cover 17% of the city’s ground area. This is more than the national average, but we are working to increase it to 19% to make the city more ‘climate resilient’.

Tree canopy cover in Cambridge varies from ward to ward. Newnham in the west of the city has 21% cover, while Cherry Hinton and Abbey in the east have only 13.1% and 14.3% respectively.

This unequal distribution of trees and green spaces across the city will impact residents in different ways. While the benefits of easy access to natural spaces and features like trees continue to be studied, the links to increased physical and mental wellbeing are clear.

Recognising this inequality across the city, we have launched the Neighbourhood Canopy Campaign.

Every year we will identify areas with low tree canopy cover and prioritise one of them based on their need. The government’s Index of Multiple Deprivation will help us identify areas with the greatest need.

Through the campaign, we’ll be giving free trees and shrubs, including fruit and pollinating species, to residents in the target areas to help improve tree canopy cover. If we can, we’ll also give away bird boxes, insect hotels, water butts and wildflower seed mixes.

No campaign was run in 2023 but we hope to restart the process in 2024.

Campaign 3: Coldham’s Lane, Romsey

We selected Coldham’s Lane in Romsey for our third Neighbourhood Canopy Campaign.

Residents claimed 13 trees and shrubs to plant in their front gardens and help green this busy road.

Campaign 2: Verulam Way area, Arbury

We launched our second campaign in the Verulam Way area of Arbury in 2021. We delivered the trees in January and February 2022.

Residents claimed 92 free trees, helping to increase the local tree population and the city’s future canopy cover.

Residents selected 23 different species or varieties of tree and shrub. The most popular choices were edible plums, closely followed by edible and flowering cherries.

Campaign 1: Whitehill Road estate, Abbey

The first area identified by the campaign, in late 2020, was the Whitehill Road estate in Abbey ward.

In total, 81 residents applied to claim a tree. The most popular variety was the edible cherry, followed by dessert apples, and edible plums.

And nearly 100 fruit trees were donated to CoFarm Cambridge to help establish their orchard, including more than 80 apple trees from heritage varieties.

We delivered these trees in time to plant them before the end of the recommended planting season, which runs from November to March.

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