Slough’s Digital Urban Forest
The Slough Digital Urban Forest is our project to meet the Urban Tree Challenge. This challenge is a nationwide initiative partly funded by DEFRA. This will greatly benefit Slough in both the short- and long-term.
31 sites have been selected in Slough and principles such as climate mitigation, climate resilience and climate adaption will be applied throughout. Even with these shared principles, each site will be unique to reflect and serve the local, and immediate, community who are closely situated to these spaces.
The local community will benefit greatly from the aims to improve air quality, temperature reduction in hot weather, and water attenuation. These enhancements will be through various consultative and group/shared initiatives.
Through various techniques we will gather data on the health of each site; soil, roots, growth and much more will be monitored. More details will be released as the project progresses on how residents and community groups can play a part in maintaining the sites.
The Urban Forest is so much more than just tree planting, and will give educational opportunities for Slough’s children and young people, through our Digital Forest initiative. We will install environmental sensors among the trees to measure the health of the forest, and this information will be part of an open source online database, which schools can use as live data for environmental lessons.
To provide more urban woodlands is part of the council’s Five Year Plan to make Slough an attractive place to live, work and stay. The Slough Joint Wellbeing Strategy recognises planting trees has been found to improve mental health and wellbeing. Over time we should see an improvement in air quality in the borough, and measuring of carbon capture via the Council’s carbon agenda.
‘Parks and Open Spaces’ and ‘Access to Nature’ were identified in the 2018 Place Survey by residents as two of the top 10 most important factors which determines what made somewhere a good place to live in Slough. And when asked how the council could improve areas, residents asked for more planting of trees and areas to be greener.
Phase One of planting has already taken place in Spring 2020. This was in larger parks and green areas across the borough. Phase Two of the planting started in November 2020 with some work in these sites forming part of the consultation due to take place in February 2021.