We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

The People's Park in Cork City. Alamy Stock Photo
Canopy Cover

Cork City Council adopts a new strategy to increase tree cover in the city

The new strategy will run until 2028, along with the term of the Cork City Development Plan.

A NEW STRATEGY that aims to increase tree cover in Cork City and protect existing trees has been adopted by the council.

Councillors formally adopted the strategy at the monthly council meeting last night. A draft strategy went out for public consultation on January, and received over 50 submissions from various groups and citizens.

Councillors were told previously that the ambitious long-term aim of a Tree Strategy in the city would be to more than double to the city’s tree cover to 30%, and that the average person should be able to see three trees from their window.

In 2021, Cork City had a tree canopy cover of about 13%, just above the national average.

Of the trees in Cork, just 17% are located in public areas such as street and local roads, public parks, green spaces, cemeteries, etc. The remaining 83% of tree canopy are on privately owned or institutional lands.

Cork City is one of a hundred the “EU Mission Cities” that are aiming to become climate neutral by 2030. Tree cover in Cork is on the lower end of the list of similar-sized mission cities. For example, Tampere, Finland has 60% cover, while Ljubljana in Slovenia has 50%.  

The new strategy will run until 2028, along with the term of the Cork City Development Plan.

The strategy details 13 internal policies and 34 separate actions that will be taken in order to protect and enhance the city’s canopy coverage. However, the plan sets no firm target for 2028.

“While this strategy aims to increase tree canopy cover by 2028, no quantified canopy target will be set at this time, as doing so would be arbitrary. Further information on the profile of existing trees must be collected and considered to set an ambitious, yet realistic, target,” the plan states.

Approaches set out in this strategy will be further refined over the next five years, and an updated Tree Strategy with a long-term horizon will be built upon the foundation provided by this initial tree strategy.

Among the measures included in the strategy to increase canopy cover are plans to take a survey of the existing trees in the city, work to care for and manage the public tree stock (and only chop down as a “last resort”), plant new trees and implement a “right tree, right place” approach.

Green party councillor Dan Boyle – who chairs the council’s Environment, Water and Amenity Committee – welcomed the council’s adoption of the strategy.

“The proof will be in how it’s implemented,” he said, stating that the council now has a dedicated Tree Officer and had taken to planting 4,000 trees a year.

The Tree Strategy is both to underpin the changes we have made and take us in future in a better direction to making us a tree friendly city.