North East Wales

Urban trees value to Wrexham measured

Looking towards Queen's Square in Wrexham town centre
Six surveyors visited more than 200 locations in Wrexham county borough

Experts are attempting to put a value on a tree - and what it could be worth in terms of a feel-good factor and to the local economy.

Urban trees in Wrexham are being studied to try to put a monetary value on the environmental, social and economic benefits they bring.

Natural Resources Wales chose Wrexham after 7,000 trees were planted on an estate to improve community life.

United States experts will analyse the results.

The findings of the study could be used to inform future council planning and policy decisions.

Surveyors have been studying 200 locations in the Wrexham area.

Dafydd Fryer from Natural Resources Wales explained that urban trees provide positive effects on the environment such as filtering pollution from the air but also contribute to "less tangible benefits that make our towns and cities better places to live".

He added: "Years of extensive research in the United States indicates that where there are trees and green spaces businesses thrive, people linger and shop longer, apartments and office space rent quicker, tenants stay longer, property values increase and new business and industry is attracted."

Wrexham was selected to take part in Wales' first i-Tree Eco project because of its work with the former Forestry Commission Wales - now Natural Resources Wales -which included planting a new community woodland at Caia Park.

In the tree study, six surveyors have been gathering technical and environmental data from the trees themselves, as well as questioning the public about the wider impact.

Calculations will be drawn up by looking at the amount of carbon and other airborne pollutants captured by Wrexham's trees and their contribution towards reducing the effects of climate change.

Overton's famous yews (pic: Jeremy Bolwell)
The yews in Overton churchyard are said to be over 2,000 years old and are one of the Seven Wonders of Wales

The project also examines their contribution to people's quality of life and general well-being from reducing temperatures in town centres during the summer as well as slowing storm water run-off following heavy rain as well as providing sound and visual screening.

The information will be sent to the US Forest Service for analysis using its i-Tree software.

And the results will be interpreted for a report due to be published early next year.

Wrexham arboriculture council officer Moray Simpson said: "By placing a value on the benefits to society of our urban trees, the importance of this resource can be made tangible to policy makers, local communities and businesses."

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