Nature with Nik Mitchell: National Tree Week

National Tree Week

Thanet nature expert Nik Mitchell, from Minster, runs the Wildlife Conservation in Thanet page on facebook:

National Tree Week is the UK’s largest annual tree celebration, marking the start of the winter tree planting season (November to March each year). This year, it’s taking place on November 28–  December 6.

National Tree Week is a great chance for communities to do something positive for their local treescape however, this year it’s mostly been put on hold due to lockdown restrictions.

Trees are not just good to look at. I’d like to go on to tell you how important they are, and in particular, the benefits of street trees.

Trees contribute to our environment by providing oxygen, improving air quality, conserving water, preserving soil and supporting wildlife. Trees also lower the air temperature and reduce the heat intensity of the greenhouse effect by maintaining low levels of carbon dioxide. Alongside this, they help to combat the urban heat island effects.

Sadly, Thanet really lacks in tree cover. With a tree cover of around only 4% it is amongst the lowest in the whole country, even London is 29%. It very important to try to save as many of our trees as possible, especially mature trees. Many people do fight for our trees (check out Thanet Trees on Facebook).

Street trees are a beautiful and much needed addition to any street. Unfortunately, in more recent years, there has been a huge reduction in our beloved street trees. Street trees are often cut down and not replaced, many new developers do not consider the need to plant trees and on the rare occasion street trees have been planted locally, many have died due to lack of after care.

Street trees have many benefits:

  • They create more pleasant walking environments, bringing about increased pride in an area
  • Businesses on a tree-scaped street show 12% higher income
  • They absorb the first 30% of rainfall through their leaves, reducing flooding & allowing evaporation back into the atmosphere
  • They reduce harm from traffic exhaust pipes because street trees absorb 9 times more pollutants than more distant trees
  • In the summer they offer vital shade for us & parked cars, prolonging the life of pavements and roads by up to 60% by reducing daily expansion & contraction cycles
  • Street trees can be used to naturally frame roads, providing a more defined edge. This can help motorists to guide their movement and assess their speed which in-turn also creates safer footpaths.

Across the UK, the presence of trees in cities, towns and rural landscapes, continues to add value to our lives every day. If you can this winter why not plant yourself a tree or give a tree as a gift. Love them and live with as many as possible.


  1. Thanet Council/KCC need to plant more trees and STOP cutting them down.
    BEFORE they say they have planted more.
    WHAT HAPPENED To OMER AVENUES, Cliftonville planned planting.
    Pavements marked out but nothing planted
    And Please councillors don’t blame covid19.

  2. With all the money these developers make from building houses, it should be mandatory they plant trees on each development.

  3. Thanet Council have put Thanet in the bottom 2% for trees in the whole country because they do extremely little to encourage developers to plant trees when planning consent is given. There has been a huge loss of trees in Thanet over the past few decades and it has to stop. Every single tree is important and needs to be protected now but TDC just don’t care and it is very obvious in their lack of communication with local groups on environmental issues and also in the ease in which trees are being felled locally. We need a council who cares about the local biodiversity and the area in general. We don’t have that council yet!

  4. I don’t agree that “every single tree is important”. It depends what and where they are. Woodland ,for example, has to be managed. Thinning out has to be done, for example. In some circumstances even trees with a TPO on them will need to be cut.

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