The HEYwoods initiative aims to increase woodland cover and to improve the management of existing trees, woods and associated habitats in Kingston upon Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire. Together, the East Riding of Yorkshire and Kingston upon Hull area has only approximately 2.6% woodland cover: significantly less than the national average of approximately 8.4%.
The area has an established green network of features including farmland, railway corridors, bridleways and cycle routes, road verges and embankments, drainage channels, river and canal banks. However, this existing network needs to continue to be strengthened in the countryside, linked together through industrial and residential landscapes and established as a positive setting for housing renewal and economic growth in urban areas.
The green network of linked trees, woods, hedgerows and other habitats delivers a range of practical benefits. It provides shelter and improves public health through shade and cleaner air. It reduces the rate of storm water run-off and help to prevent flooding. It creates an attractive setting where people can relax and enjoy the natural environment. It contributes to many of the essential ‘ecosystem services’ that society and the economy is dependant on, including clean air, soil and water, the provision of materials and food, medicines and the pollination of crops.
This green infrastructure is becoming increasingly recognised as being important to economic regeneration both in urban areas and also in established rural communities. It provides an attractive environment that helps to create a setting for investment for new businesses. It greatly increases the appeal of existing and new residential neighbourhoods. It contributes significantly to the character and distinctiveness of both urban and rural street-scapes that are cherished and valued by communities. By increasing the sustainable management of exiting woodlands and increasing new tree cover can make a significant contribution to climate change mitigation and adaption.
New woodland establishment and good management can help to achieve flood alleviation. Woodland can be managed sensitively to provide a sustainable source of local woodfuel for renewable energy purposes. Trees can be strategically planting in built-up areas to provide more shading and natural ‘air conditioning’, helping to create an urban cooling effect.
The work of HEYwoods is delivered in partnership by a group of government agencies, local authorities, environmental charities and key individuals. The partnership co-ordinates strategic and day-to-day activity and its role includes securing funding and implementing the strategy through agreed action plans. The work is financially supported through a range of sources including core funding, grants, developer contributions and corporate sponsorship.