Oxford City Council publishes Urban Forest Strategy

Oxford City Council has published its strategy for how it aims to protect, manage and enhance the trees and hedgerows in the city – also known as Oxford’s Urban Forest.

The Urban Forest Strategy celebrates the environmental and social benefits of Oxford’s forest resource and aims to safeguard them for future generations. It provides a framework for action on public and private land across the city between now and 2050.

The Urban Forest Strategy has three main aims: to protect the trees and landscapes that the city already has; expand and enhance the city’s urban forest; and engage local communities and individuals in the process.

Where the strategy encourages new planting, it follows the principle of ‘right tree, right place’. This means identifying the areas that would benefit most from new planting and avoiding damage to existing habitats of value, including species-rich grasslands and wetland.

The majority of Oxford’s Urban Forest is on private land and outside of the council’s direct control. This means developers, businesses, institutions, community groups and individuals have a crucial role to play in its expansion. The strategy provides a framework for how these groups can work together, with the council’s support, to achieve this.

Oxford City Council owns and manages just over 600 hectares of accessible green space in the city and surrounding area, including a country park, 33 nature areas and over 60 urban parks.

Lubna Arshad, Cabinet Member for Parks and Waste Reduction, said: “Trees and green spaces benefit both our own physical and mental health, as well as ensuring biodiversity and tackling the climate emergency.

“After carrying out consultation over the past few months we have now published our Urban Forest strategy which highlights how we intend to protect and enhance Oxford’s Urban Forest. Our approach of  ‘right tree, right place’ aims to ensure that when we plant new trees, they are in areas that will benefit the most from new planting and avoiding damage to existing habitats. By following this strategy we aim to safeguard Oxford’s Urban Forest for future generations.”

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