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Council wins bid to plant more urban trees

A bid by South Hams District Council to the Forestry Commission has been successful.

A close-up photograph of young leaves on a tree

A bid by South Hams District Council to the Forestry Commission has been successful. The bid worth £250,000 secures funding to plant and maintain 600 urban trees within the district. 

South Hams District Council and Kingsbridge Town Council will both provide match funding towards this significant scheme. South Hams District Council will also provide their own arboriculture and grounds' team support to plant and maintain the trees.

As part of the Urban Tree Challenge Fund project, it is intended to plant 300 trees at 15 sites in early 2022 and a further 300 will follow early in 2023 at another 15 sites.

There are so many reasons to plant urban trees. They can reduce temperatures by providing shade, help to remove air pollutants, reduce noise pollution and overall are recognised to improve health and wellbeing. They are known to increase property values due to their beauty, as well providing vital habitats for urban wildlife.

The scheme is a positive step in the Council's biodiversity aims as part of its Climate Change and Biodiversity Action Plan.

With a wide range of large native species included, such as the classics people know and love, like; the oak, sweet and horse chestnut, together with some much loved park varieties such as the small leaved lime and hornbeam, amongst others.

On the smaller sites and verges, there are smaller flowering trees, which will be especially good for wildlife habitats, the old favourites; the crab apple, wild cherry, and the rowan.

Let's not forget the orchards, of which there are a few in the mix too, where the Council, working in partnership with community groups, look to get local species to plant. The Council hope to continue this collaborative approach in future years to support the trees' management.

If that is not enough to whet the appetite for what is to come, at some sites the appeal will be more ornamental with a focus purely on the 'wow' effect and the changing colours through the season. What a beautiful show will be given by the field maple, liquidambar and acer varieties.

Cllr Tom Holway, South Hams District Council's Executive Member for Climate Change and Biodiversity, said: "I'm absolutely delighted that together with Kingsbridge Town Council, we have secured this money so we can really do some good by planting all these trees.

"There is such a wide variety coming in all colours and sizes and they will truly be something which will add to our urban landscape. Climate Change is something which affects all of us whether we like it or not and by planting more trees, we help to mitigate against it in some small way. It's a start and by keep making these steps in the right direction and by playing our part then we can help to make a difference.

"I commend those in the community who come out time and time again to get involved by helping to plant and maintain community gardens, arboretums and landscapes and I encourage you to keep doing exactly that. I know I'm always happy to go along and get my hands dirty, so hopefully I'll meet some new people at the next planting session in February." 

Funding has also been included to monitor the future wellbeing and growth of the trees by the Arboriculture and Grounds Maintenance teams until they are well established. For the five years following the end of the funding term, newly planted trees, which fail to thrive, will be replaced.

It is expected that the trees will be delivered with planting sites agreed upon, ready to begin by the end of February. 

Cllr Graham Price, Kingsbridge Town Council Tree Warden and chairman of Kingsbridge in Bloom, said: "We are delighted to hear that the bid to the Forestry Commission Urban Tree Challenge Fund has been successful.

"In Kingsbridge we really appreciate the tremendous benefit that our trees bring to our landscape from an environment point of view, both to capture carbon pollution and encourage wildlife.

"With our Royal Horticultural Society gold winning group Kingsbridge in Bloom we have over the years been working to promote environmental responsibility and horticultural excellence which has been nationally recognised.

"This new initiative will help meet our ongoing aspirations to improve our local environment and we look forward to our well established working relationship with South Hams District Council to secure similar programmes in the future."

For more information on South Hams District Council's Climate Change Declaration, go to:

Issued 29 November 2021

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