Massive tree planting plan gets the green light

Next steps of an ambitious programme to plant a tree for every Buckinghamshire resident have moved a step closer to reality after plans were agreed.

The large-scale planting aims to see about 543,000 trees growing on large sites of council-owned land in the next 10 years, in a bid to address climate change in the county.

The scheme, linked to the Climate Change Strategy, would see Buckinghamshire Council becoming carbon neutral by 2050 or earlier.

Bill Chapple OBE, cabinet member for environment and climate change, said: ‘I’m delighted that cabinet has given their full backing to this fantastic programme.

‘We’re committed to tackling climate change issues and improving air quality in Buckinghamshire and these trees will play a crucial role in offsetting our emissions, as well as all the other benefits.

‘Trees enhance our environments, they provide biodiversity benefits not only by providing food and water but also giving our birds, bats, mammals, insects, fungi and butterflies homes, playgrounds, and hiding spots from predators.

‘These new woodland areas will create more space for nature to grow and thrive and will improve public health and well-being.

‘As the project progresses we will look at how we can involve our communities and schools so that we can all work together on community tree planting and play our part in making Bucks greener and cleaner for generations to come.’

Once the sites have been finalised, work will begin on designing detailed creation plans to ensure that the right tree is planted in the correct place.

The council will ensure it secures the available grant funding for both planning and creating these woodlands in order to offset some of the cost of buying and planting the trees.

The woodlands will be designed in accordance with the Woodland Carbon Code to provide assurance on the levels of carbon being captured.

Although the council will still be planting trees this season, it is anticipated that about 75% of the tree planting would take place over the next five years, starting during the next planting season, which is December 2021 to March 2022.

Once finished, the project has the potential to create at least 200 hectares of new woodland in Bucks – the equivalent of 285 full-sized football pitches or the size of Monaco.

Tree planting in parks, open spaces and along highways will continue outside and beyond this project.

Information about the council’s current approach to sustainability and climate change can be found at: https://www.buckscc.gov.uk/services/environment/sustainability/climate-change/

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