More than 80,000 trees will be planted by March 2021, with 20,000 trees in the ground this Christmas, thanks to a £1 million fund announced by Network Rail last year. Working with The Tree Council, local residents, charities and community groups have developed a series of exciting projects based on community needs, to create lasting treescapes which will enhance the lives of local people.
In its first year, this fund will support over 17 planting schemes across the country with a diverse range of participants, including parish councils, environmental charities, conservation charities, farming partnerships, community groups, local authorities, Tree Wardens, schools and more. Projects include:
- c4,000 trees in the South Downs National Park with a parish community at the forefront of the battle to respond to Ash Die Back and other environmental challenges, battling to restore and protect ancient woodland close to the heart of the local community
- c6,000 trees across historic farmland in the Lake District to help shelter animals, link fragmented wooded habitats and provide a line of defence against flooding
- c1,200 trees in a churchyard in Hampshire which will reflect the continuity of life, shelter family and loved ones, bring natural beauty and enhance the local biodiversity
- c30,000 trees in Tendring in Essex – volunteer Tree Wardens are coordinating the planting across multiple farmed land ownerships in the UK’s driest district, where multi-generational farmland has been degraded and where there are almost no landscape trees.
- c1,000 trees in Boscastle, Cornwall, to restore an area which has been devastated by floods
Sara Lom, CEO of The Tree Council, said: “This year has brought home to us just how important trees are to our health and wellbeing and that of our planet. Trees look after us and we need to look after them. These wonderful community projects in our cities and towns, on farms, along highways and in heritage churchyards, will benefit wildlife, bring recovery and wellbeing and help tackle the climate crisis – a welcome bit of good news for nature and communities during this challenging time.”
Network Rail’s £1m pledge to local community planting between 2020-24 highlights their commitment to environmental sustainability and to achieving biodiversity net gain, with a commitment to conserving and improving biodiversity on their own land, as well as further afield in partnership with others.
If you have a community group or partnership who are looking at planting trees for community benefit to the local area, then we would love to hear from you. The Tree Council will have information available in January 2021 as to how communities can apply for a grant for planting in the 2021/22 planting season.