The Murray Consultancy work with the Mersey Forest on the social and environmental impact of tree planting programmes.
The Mersey Forest is a growing network of woodlands and green spaces across Cheshire and Merseyside, which has been creating ‘woodlands on your doorstep’ for 20 years. Since the early 1990s the Mersey Forest, through community and partnership working, has planted more than 8 million trees – equivalent to five new trees for every person living within the Forest area.
In 2013 and 2014 The Mersey Forest were involved in the planting of trees in urban areas in Knowsley, North Liverpool, South Sefton and Wirral. The aim of the project was not just to improve the image of the area, but to encourage people to walk and cycle to work. In targeted areas, the Murray Consultancy interviewed local residents to ascertain their awareness of changes to the area, and whether they were likely to walk and cycle more as a result and thereby improve their health and well-being.
Recently The Mersey Forest have focussed on the area of Bidston on the Wirral Peninsula. The Murray Consultancy, experts in third sector environmental research, were briefed to speak to both residents and businesses in the area to evaluate what benefits they felt the planted trees brought to Bidston and whether the tree planting programme would alter individual behaviour. We were also asked to look at attitudes towards global warming and whether they thought planting trees could help with this issue.