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The Tree Council & Partners receive grant of £1.8m from the government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund for hedgerow project

The Tree Council

December 10, 2020

leicestershire landscape with hedgerows

Close the Gap is one of the first environmental projects awarded a grant from the government’s £80 million Green Recovery Challenge Fund. It is an 18-month programme focused on achieving bigger, healthier, better-connected hedgerows.

British hedgerows have immense biodiversity, wildlife, carbon-capture and heritage value. However, hedgerows are often overlooked. Between 1998 and 2007 the total length of managed hedgerow in England decreased by 26,000km (source: Hedgelink).

Close the Gap will help shape the future of England’s hedgerows in four ways: through hedgerow planting and ‘gapping up’; by gathering and sharing knowledge to improve hedgerow management; by ensuring good local supplies of future hedgerow trees through local seed nurseries; and by engaging the public with England’s important hedgerow heritage.

Sara Lom, CEO, The Tree Council said:

“The Committee on Climate Change called for 200,000 km of new hedgerows to help achieve net zero carbon – but hedges are often forgotten in conversations about a greener future. Close the Gap will boost the immense potential of our hedgerows – for biodiversity, carbon-capture, conserving our natural cultural heritage and more.  We want everyone to understand and value their local hedgerows and for more young people to consider the exciting land-based careers they offer. We’re grateful to National Lottery Heritage Fund for funding this partnership of leading organisations to improve the future of UK hedgerows.”

The partners are: The Tree Council, Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group, People’s Trust for Endangered Species, Moor Trees, University of Reading, Future Gardeners (Worshipful Company of Gardeners) and Hedgelink.

Among many other stakeholders we will engage with partner local authorities and volunteer Tree Wardens, many of whom work tirelessly at the local level to promote thriving, urban and rural hedgerows that are managed for wildlife and biodiversity benefit.

To find out more about Close the Gap, contact Louise Bowe, Close the Gap Programme Manager.

Read Defra’s full press announcement

Notes to editors
  • The Climate Change Committee’s call for 200,000 kms of new hedgerow is equivalent to twice the circumference of the moon
  • Close the Gap will take action in four areas: through hedgerow planting and ‘gapping up’; by gathering and sharing knowledge to improve hedgerow management; by ensuring good local supplies of future hedgerow trees through local seed nurseries; and by engaging the public with England’s important hedgerow heritage.

Activities will include:

  • Establishing and restoring urban and rural hedgerow with local partners and Tree Council volunteer Tree Wardens
  • New online knowledge hub and shared training materials on hedgerow surveying, planting and management
  • Raising awareness among young people, who have a growing interest in the natural environment, in land-based careers
  • New community seed nurseries nationwide to create biosecure future tree supplies
  • Raising awareness of the value of hedgerows through a new ‘National Hedgerow Week’ to launch next Spring and continue annually

About The Tree Council

The Tree Council is a charity and umbrella body bringing everyone together with a shared mission to care for trees and our planet’s future. We inspire and empower organisations, government, communities and individuals with the knowledge and tools to create positive, lasting change at a national and local level. The Tree Council also chairs Hedgelink, the national steering group for UK’s hedgerows.

www.treecouncil.org.uk  Registered charity number 279000.

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