The Arboricultural Section of Dudley Council has the management responsibility for trees on different departments' land parcels across the largely urban 98 sq km borough. In addition, Dudley Council has a published Tree Strategy, which promises to enhance and protect the authority's tree stock.
The Bluesky National Tree Map (NTM) data, which identifies the location, height and canopy cover of more than 280 million trees across Britain, is being used within Dudley Council's corporate Geographical Information System (GIS).
Combined with existing data layers, such as Ordnance Survey mapping, the Local Land and Property Gazetteer, Dudley's Land Terrier and recent aerial photography (also provided by Bluesky), it allows officers to quickly identify trees that fall within areas owned or managed by the Council.
"Often trees, as a result of their location, become part of a wider remit or responsibility," commented Andy Allison, Acting Arboricultural Officer at Dudley Council.
"They are considered assets and have a positive effect on highways, housing or leisure portfolios, making their borough wide management quite complex. So, in order to implement and deliver our published tree strategy, we needed some help estimating tree numbers.
"Using the Bluesky National Tree Map data as a starting point, we are creating an inventory of every tree located upon or adjacent to Council land. This total can then be broken down further, into wards or by specific council committees and ownerships, to provide manageable work packages.
From this we can estimate how long it would take to survey the tree stock in order to create and maintain a diverse population of trees; perpetuating existing trees where possible and planting new ones where needed, ultimately sustaining the character and appearance of the Borough for future generations."
Further applications of the Bluesky National Tree Map data within Dudley Council are expected to include Development Control, where trees -both existing and proposed- can have a significant impact upon an application, and surface water flood risk assessment, where they can be considered to provide a natural defence.