130,000 trees to be planted across England over two years
More than 130,000 trees will be planted across English towns and cities over the next two years in an effort to tackle climate change, the government announced yesterday.
The Urban Tree Challenge Fund will provide £10m of grants to local authorities, NGOs, charities and individuals to plant the trees and look after them for three years to ensure they flourish.
The scheme will be administered by the Forestry Commission, and is part of the government’s plans to plant one million trees in built-up areas by 2022.
Environment secretary Michael Gove said: “Trees are vital in the fight against climate change, which is why we must go further and faster to increase planting rates.
“We need trees lining the streets of our cities and towns, not only to green and shade them but to ensure that we remain connected to the wonders of the natural world and the health and wellbeing benefits that it brings us.”
As well as storing carbon, studies have shown that trees can help improve health and wellbeing, absorb noise, reduce flood risk, and lower temperature through shading.
The new grants will be delivered as a challenge fund, which requires match funding from those that apply, with projects chosen that can provide the greatest environmental and social benefits.
This comes after the government consulted on a raft of forestry measures earlier this year, which included proposals to ensure communities have their say on whether trees should be felled.
Moreover, a consultation for a new ‘English Tree Strategy’ will take place later this year to accelerate woodland creation.
The government’s Tree Champion, Sir William Worsley said: “Trees are the lifeblood of our nation, and it is more important than ever to ensure they are rooted not only in our countryside, but in our towns and cities too.
“The benefits of planting urban trees are endless, and I encourage anyone with the ability to apply for this fund to get involved and help green our towns and cities.”
The Urban Tree Challenge Fund is open for applications from 23 May 2019.
Image credit: iStock
Chris Seekings is a reporter for TRANSFORM