The NHS Forest has published a concise document outlining how our initiative aligns with councils’ Local Nature Recovery Strategies (LNRS). Download and share it with your colleagues to explore the benefits. 

Why NHS Forest Fits into LNRS 

Local Nature Recovery Strategies aim to restore and protect local environments, enhance biodiversity and deliver ecological, social and economic benefits to communities. The NHS Forest’s mission aligns closely with these goals.  

One of the NHS Forest’s aims is to increase urban canopy cover. This is critical for pollution reduction, temperature control and water runoff management. These environmental benefits are especially important in an urban context given how built up areas are especially vulnerable when it comes to extreme weather events caused by climate breakdown.

Environmental benefits: The NHS estate is vast and varied. We recommend collaborating with your local NHS Integrated Care System (ICS) to identify available green space around NHS sites. These green spaces can be used to identify strategic sites for biodiversity improvements and linking to the wider environment through measures such as wildlife corridors. We see the NHS estate as strategic public land and have tailored tree planting initiatives to support green space improvements. These fully funded trees offer a range of benefits: 

Social benefits: Green spaces improve mental and physical health, aiding in the rest and recovery of patients and staff. Our Space to Breathe report highlights the positive effects of green spaces, emphasising their importance for staff wellbeing. We recently supported the creation of the Tree Equity Score tool, a valuable free online tool for assessing and guiding tree planting to address health inequalities and maximise community benefits. The tree equity score can indicate where improvements will be most beneficial.

Financial benefits: Did you see Forest Research’s NHS Trees and Woodland Valuation Pilot Study? We worked with them to access woodlands on four NHS sites and they evaluated the monetary benefits of the ecosystem services provided. The total estimated annual monetary flow of these services across the four sites was a staggering £82,531. The estimated capital asset values ranged from £300,000 – £1.5m. The study valued only a few of the ecosystem services provided and did not take into account the financial savings these woodlands could provide through their social benefits, shorter hospital stays or better staff and patient wellbeing. As a result, we think this financial figure is the tip of the iceberg. 

The NHS Forest has already planted over 130,000 trees across the NHS estate and plans to plant at least 100,000 more, contributing to a greener, healthier future. We urge councils to consider the NHS Forest as a vital part of their LNRS. By integrating our initiative, councils will support a shared responsibility to foster a sustainable and healthy environment for all. 

Explore the potential of the NHS Forest to enhance your LNRS and contribute to a thriving, biodiverse urban landscape.  

Download our document and take the first step towards a greener future. If you would like further information or support with approaching NHS sites in your region, please contact us – 

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