NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has committed to planting five million new trees in Sydney by 2030 to combat the city’s “heat island effect”.

The Five Million Trees initiative, which will cost the government $37.5 million over the next four years, will increase Sydney’s existing tree canopy from 16.8 per cent to 40 per cent over the next 12 years.

Each year that equates to the planting of more than 380,000 trees until 2030, with the addition of another 15,000 to be given away to people who are building homes in new land release areas in Western Sydney.

The NSW Planning Minister Anthony Roberts says the trees should achieve a “reduction in temperatures in peak times around five degrees Celsius”, according to his interview with the Sydney Morning Herald.

Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton says planting new trees in targeted areas will have a positive effect on the entire city. “Planting this many trees across Sydney is equivalent to taking about 355,000 cars off the road each year,” she said in an official statement.

The initiative is part of the NSW Government’s $290 million Open Spaces package, which as the name suggests is about developing more open green spaces in Sydney to boost its liveability. The package includes $100 million to secure green space, $20 million to build and renovate up to 200 playgrounds, and $30 million to create 81 school ovals and playgrounds for public use during school holidays.

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