In this week's column, Jason Brock, the leader of Reading Borough Council, highlights some of the work the council is doing as part of its tree strategy, and has revealed how you can sponsor a tree. Councillor Brock writes:

In dense, urban towns or cities like Reading, green spaces seem even more important.

I’m really proud of the amount of green space residents are able to enjoy in our town. We boast some superb award-winning gardens – at Caversham Court and the Forbury – while Christchurch Meadows and Prospect Park, for example, remain as popular as ever, particularly with the Council’s major recent investments in new flagship playgrounds and other new facilities.

It may surprise you, but Reading Borough contains over 50 parks and open spaces. Our largely urban environment doesn’t mean we aren’t blessed with plenty of green space to play, walk and relax in.

And our commitment to the natural environment doesn’t end there, with our Tree Strategy (set in 2021) seeing us work towards planting 3,000 trees on Council land by 2030.

The Tree Strategy sits snugly alongside the Council’s Climate Emergency Strategy and plays a key role in responding to the climate crisis. Our aim is to reach an overall canopy cover up to at least 25% across the borough, and at least 12% in each ward. It’s an ambitious target. Between November 2022 and March of this year, 387 trees were planted as we work towards that. The impressive planting rate achieved so far has been greatly aided by the collaborative contributions of two of our esteemed partners – Ethical Reading and the Reading Tree Wardens.

Through its Trees for Reading initiative, Ethical Reading enables businesses to fund the planting and care of trees in the parts of town where they are most needed. Meanwhile, Reading Tree Wardens have a warden in every ward across Reading. They provide valuable support to the Council in looking after the borough’s trees to ensure they are surviving and flourishing.

We often receive requests from residents wanting trees planted near to where they live, and I’m delighted to say we are now able to offer our residents the exciting opportunity of greening up their own street – or, indeed, any street of your choice – by sponsoring the planting of a tree.

We’ve teamed up with charitable enterprise Trees for Streets to work with residents either individually or in a group, so anyone can apply to have a tree planted on their behalf as close as possible to their chosen location. The cost is £395 (or £295 if you commit to watering the tree).

Visit to request a location for a new tree, answer a few simple questions, and submit your sponsorship details. We will then survey the location to check for suitability. If suitable, what is known as an ‘instant impact’ tree, normally 5-7 years old and 3-4 metres high, will be planted during the November to April planting season.

With so many of our residents interested in looking after our natural environment and looking for ways they can make a difference, it seems like a great opportunity.