[Images of leaves and tree planting]
Pete Stringer (Red Rose Forest): Green streets is a project that is designed to bring communities together using the medium of street tree planting as a mechanism to galvanise residents that probably have fallen away from their neighbours in the last 10-20 years, which is fairly typical of what's happening in society. So, by engaging people in projects that affect their street we are actually recreating that community spirit, and the tree planting, I suppose, is the added bonus of doing that.
[Images of street trees and of neighbours talking to one another]
Paul Nolan (The Mersey Forest): The model fitted really well with The Mersey Forest, because it's about involving people in making these changes, so everything that The Mersey Forest tries to do tries to engage local people, and make them feel that they actually own what's going on. A successful project has demonstrated that in Manchester, and we thought we would try the same sort of approach in The Mersey Forest.
[Children planting hanging baskets]
Jo Sayers (The Mersey Forest): We have been working with local people in terms of developing the environment now for about 12 years, so we have lots of experience in terms of environmental regeneration and working with communities, but we don't just work very short term with communities. It is about the whole approach, it's about saying "It's really important that we gain community support to gain long term ownership of the areas we're creating".
[Workmen planting street tree and the finished result]
Paul Nolan: There's two ways you can do this sort of thing. One, we can come in, plant the trees and get the plants in the ground overnight and nobody knows what going on. Another way is we do what we've done today, so we get kids who actually live on the estate to get involved in the planting here today.
[Green Streets team members talking to children in a primary school classroom]
Pete Stringer: Before we actually go out there, I want to know how much you actually know about trees, and why they're important. Does anyone know about carbon dioxide, and why it's bad for the atmosphere? What it is? The name given to it? You see it on the news all the time.
Child: Global Warming?
Pete Stringer: Brilliant answer, global warming!
[Children walking out of the school, towards a field]
Pete Stringer: We need the trees to absorb the carbon dioxide, what happens? It stores the carbon inside the tree, so it stops it going into the atmosphere, and if you get carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, it stops the hot air escaping, that's why everything's getting warmer.
Councillor Pinder (St.Helens Council): I think this event today, where all the young people are planting… I think it's marvellous that the children and young people do get involved with the environment. It's something to be carried on throughout their life: caring about the environment and the place where they live.
[Children planting flowers around new trees]
John, Yvonne & Alison (local residents): We're at Worsley Avenue, Moston, Manchester, where we applied for trees to brighten our street up. We got the committee together, and then we decided to apply for a grant. And it's been the best thing that we've ever, ever done!
It's made people and neighbours come out with their children. There's more of a community feel, plus it makes the street look wonderful and people appreciate it.
We've got wildlife, we've got nesting, we see so many different birds now!
[Images of trees and hanging baskets on Worsley Avenue]
Wrens! Which I wouldn't have thought I'd ever see a little wren in an area like this. But they've come out! And Blackbirds, we've got blackbirds nesting in the Ivy in the back. But they're all out, you know, its lovely!
The trees actually give us pleasure each morning as we get up. It's nice to walk up the avenue now as an avenue.
[Transition, snippets of tree planting]
Pete Stringer: We use a variety of techniques to engage residents that can range from using letters; we can also organise public meetings and drop-in sessions; we also use a very, very clever piece of interactive software called "The Green Street CD ROM". It is very, very useful because it enables us to take an image of their own street and then put the trees on it so people can actually get an understanding of what it would look like. If we're using 2 dimensional plans it's very, very difficult to demonstrate to communities how their street would physically look with the trees on it, so it really, really brings home to the community what the physical end product will be.
[Time lapse images of trees being planted]
Jim Clarke (Great Western Street Residents' Association): They look nice. It makes the street look so much nicer when they've got greenery on them! It's brought people together, and they're talking about it, and chatting and meeting neighbours that they've not really spoken to for perhaps some years! We've not had one person say "We don't want them!". Quite the opposite! People have come out and started to water the trees purely voluntarily, without even been asked to do it. We're going for a hanging basket scheme now, and again there's been 100% approval, and people are mad to get them. All the kids are out wearing the t-shirts and just generally enjoying themselves. The idea is that we involve the community as much as possible, and bring some pride back into the area, and it's definitely working. This area has changed in the last 4 or 5 years beyond recognition.
[Residents of different ages at a hanging baskets planting event]
Jimmy Leach (local resident): Well, it brings colour to the street, doesn't it? Brings colour to the street, and it brings neighbours together as well and brings the community together. Makes people know how we're all out today, picking the flowers and talking to everybody and mixing, it's good for the community. Everybody in the street signed for the trees, agreed to have the trees in the street, and everybody's agreed to have the flowers.
[Participants walking towards the camera with their finished hanging baskets]
Paul Nolan: We'll basically talking to anybody who wants to be involved. That could be businesses; it could be local people… there's no cut off really! We just try to engage as many people as we possibly can. If we can bring businesses and community together, that's even better!
Pete Stringer: The more trees that we plant, the bigger the impact that we'll have. So we are hoping that we can keep planting more and more, and that will actually improve air quality, also store carbon as well, which is going to have an impact in the global warming crisis that we're facing at the moment. But also the biodiversity effects as well, and there's a really, really big educational value to all of this.
Children: If there's no plants, it won't be nice and it won't be colourful.
Jimmy Leach: It's good for the community, yes.
John, Yvonne & Alison: We don't turn our tellys on in the summer now anymore, we're on the front, tending to the plants.
Jimmy Leach: Go on, ask me some more! (laughs)
Text: Together, The Mersey and Red Rose Forests aim to plant 50 million trees over the next 40 years, benefiting over 5.5 million people.
Green Streets will improve the image of the Northwest, creating places where people want to live.
Studies have shown that house prices in tree-lined streets can be up to 18% higher.
Trees will help us adapt our towns and cities to predicted future climate change.
[Logos: Green Streets, Newlands, Northwest Regional Development Agency, Forestry Commission, EU & Merseyside 2000 to 2008, United Utilities, The Mersey Forest, Red Rose Forest]