Forgotten Places: Greening Coastal Towns and Cities

Despite significant investment in planting programmes across the UK, many coastal locations have been overlooked and forgotten when it comes to green recovery.

Coastal communities up and down the country desperately need a resource boost to kick-start a new green economy. However, many local authorities lack the capacity or resources and instead have to focus on managing and maintaining their existing urban greenery rather than increasing it.

That's why Trees for Cities have spearheaded the Forgotten Places: Greening Coastal Towns and Cities programme to pave the way for a green revolution in Bexhill, Brighton, Great Yarmouth, Hull, Portsmouth, Ramsgate and Stockton-On-Tees.

Our work has seen us plant 55,000 trees across 83 locations in these 7 areas. Delivered through community tree planting events, we've engaged coastal communities with nature, inspiring a new generation to plant, protect and promote urban trees.

Trees for Cities working in partnership with Portsmouth City Council to green Buckland Estate (February 2022)


is the minimum recommendation of tree canopy cover for coastal areas.

The areas we are working with currently have a cover of only 10% or less. This means planting is urgently needed to increase urban greenery to provide essential benefits for their local communities.


This new urban tree planting initiative will focus on growing species-rich canopy cover in seaside areas with low tree cover to create habitats for wildlife, greener and healthier towns for residents and to increase resilience against the effects of climate change. There is a wealth of evidence that supports the physical and wellbeing benefits trees provide to urban dwellers.

There is also a strong correlation between low canopy cover (a measure of environmental deprivation) and social deprivation. This inequality means that people in deprived areas have had less opportunity to benefit from urban trees and green spaces.

Dedicated volunteers helping plant young trees in Stockton-on-Tees

Greening Coastal Towns & Cities Flyer

Discover how over 55,000 trees have been planted across 83 locations in seven coastal areas - all of which have been delivered through local community tree planting events.


In addition to enhancing green spaces and improving air quality, over 9,000 local residents will have the opportunity to undertake training to build their environmental knowledge and learn tree-related skills that are relevant towards the green sector. The project will support over 40 full time green jobs and traineeships, with newly developed jobs ranging from tree-planting coordinators to ecologists, horticultural officers and many more environmental roles.

In order to develop their green skills, local residents, especially young people, can participate in a wide variety of opportunities, from learning how to plant urban trees to attending training courses to identify, care for and protect the trees where they live.

We know that planting trees in cities has a hugely positive impact on people and our environment. This project represents a fantastic step towards rebalancing the UK’s canopy cover by prioritising some of our forgotten coastal towns and cities - tackling green inequality and deprivation for those more likely to face barriers to environmental justice. Working together with our partners and local communities, we will provide green jobs and cultivate lasting change in neighbourhoods and coastal communities for generations to come.

David Elliott, Chief Executive of Trees for Cities

The Green Recovery Challenge Fund

Trees for Cities were awarded a grant from the Government’s £40 million second round of the Green Recovery Challenge Fund, a multi-million-pound boost for green jobs and nature recovery. The funding of over 1.2M secured allows us to specifically focus on increasing tree cover in smaller coastal cities and towns with lower than average tree canopy cover and high levels of socio-economic deprivation.

The funding forms part of the Government's Green Recovery Challenge Fund and was developed by Defra and its arm's-length bodies. The fund is being delivered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural England, the Environment Agency and Forestry Commission.

Trees for Cities is also working with the Field Studies Council, Treeconomics, Forest Research, and local delivery partners to bring this project to life. The programme is also part of The Queen’s Green Canopy, a unique tree planting initiative created to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022. Local residents will be invited to get involved and “Plant a Tree for the Jubilee”.

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