The London Tree Officers Association is holding a seminar on morning of Monday 18 July at Kings Cross, London looking at trees, air quality and the heat island effect.

The speakers will be Professor Rob Mackenzie, Director, Birmingham Institute of Forest Research talking about air quality and urban form: the role of trees and the urban forest and Professor Rohinton Emmanuel, Director of the BEAM Research Centre, Glasgow Caledonian university talking about heat islands, urban form and the green infrastructure: thermal comfort and energy implications.

Air quality in London has been front page national news on several occasions in recent weeks. Temperatures over the first four months of 2016 indicate that the year will globally be the hottest on record – just as 2015, 2014 and 2013, were before it. The role of trees in mitigation of and adaption to climate change is more generally recognised daily – the odd pseudoscience put down of trees as polluters notwithstanding.

At least two London borough Tree Officer Teams, using the LTOA designed OSCCA and the i-Tree Canopy tool have determined the percentages of canopy cover under their control – and by implication, the limits to what they can achieve directly in increasing canopy by planting.

The LTOA has its own Trees and Health working party and is working with other partners on how to turn the many initiatives on trees and health into practical projects which can benefit London’s air – and at the same time fulfil the host of other roles that trees have in our general wellbeing.  It is a general presumption that it is Local Government which will deliver the bold increases in tree canopy and green infrastructure which are required, but ironically seldom recognised that it is a healthy population of tree officers that holds the detailed experience and knowledge keys to deliver.

The LTOA Working party have collected a range of references on trees, health and wellbeing, which will soon be posted on the website. We look forward to contributions on what our members are achieving in this arena spreading the word and deed.  We need to build on the growing realisation that trees have an enormous benefit to public health.

Dave Lofthouse

LTOA Exec and Trees and Health Working Party


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Members can attend, for free, the LTOA meetings which are held four times a year and cover a wide range of tree related matters.

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