Planting trees in urban areas has a number of environmental, social and ecological benefits. Street trees:
- offer cooling effects due to shading and evapo-transpiration from the canopy;
- help to improve air quality due to production of oxygen and absorption of air-borne pollutants such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and by mitigating carbon emissions;
- improve aesthetics and quality of place;
- improve human health and well-being; and
- encourage biodiversity due to provision of habitats.
Further indirect benefits include the reduction in buildings' energy use due to reduced need for air conditioning in summer, and reduction in heating in winter due to sheltering buildings from sun and wind.
The tree species that are chosen for urban areas all exhibit characteristics associated with urban suitability, such as tolerance of harsh conditions. All tree plantings are site specific, and careful species selection represents a fundamental part of any good urban forestry project.
There are a number of street tree planting schemes across the UK.