Green Streets works in areas of deprivation, focusing on brightening residential areas previously bereft of greenery. It also focuses on boosting health and the use of sustainable transport options, encouraging people to walk or cycle to school and work by greening the links to areas of employment, education and training.
In Knowsley alone, we've worked alongside residents to plant over 300 trees, in the neighbourhoods of Huyton, Halewood, Kirkby and Northwood.
To do this, we work with a range of partners, including local businesses, housing associations, funding bodies and local authorities. Crucially, we also work closely with local residents. By running community drop-in events, conducting surveys, and talking to people on their doorsteps, we've encouraged local people to get involved in Green Streets from the outset – from choosing which species of tree they'd like on their street, to collaborating with neighbours to take responsibility for watering the trees.
Street trees improve the image of our towns and cities, encouraging economic investment in some of the poorest areas in the country. Research has shown that children who live in tree-lined streets suffer from lower levels of asthma. Street trees also provide habitats for urban wildlife, and they play a part in combating climate change, helping to cool urban neighbourhoods and capturing rainwater.
Aside from the aesthetic, economic, health and environmental benefits of the Green Streets programme, a key impact of our work in Knowsley can be seen in residents' changing perception of their area. Our community engagement work has encouraged neighbours who haven't spoken in years to work together to take ownership of their street trees, sparking relationships that have brought the community closer together.
In 2012, we secured funding from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund, which we will be using to deliver over 4km of greener walking and cycling routes in Kirby in Knowsley. This funding was secured on the back of evidence gathered for Liverpool City Region Green Infrastructure Framework, and as a result of work to embed green infrastructure policy and actions firmly within the Merseyside Local Transport Plan.
The funding will also see The Mersey Forest plant street trees in St.Helens, the Wirral, Liverpool and Sefton over the coming years, greening a total of 22km of streets in all.
A shortened version of this case study appeared in our long-term strategic guide, The Mersey Forest Plan, in 2014. Read the Plan here.