35 million trees to be planted in the next 10 years
A report being put to Gloucestershire County Council’s cabinet next week sets out an ambitious plan for 35 million trees to be planted in the county by 2030.
Cabinet members are being asked to approve the wide-scale tree planting programme as part of the county council’s response to the climate change emergency.
As trees grow, they help to slow climate change by removing carbon dioxide from the air, which is driving global warming, and releasing oxygen into the atmosphere.
The action plan will be delivered through the Gloucestershire Local Nature Partnership (GLNP), which is made up of more than 30 public and private organisations including the county council.
Its Gloucestershire Tree Strategy aims to position the county at the leading edge nationally for tree planting, to provide huge benefits for Gloucestershire’s residents, environment and economy.
The strategy’s vision is for a thriving network of sustainably managed trees and woodland covering at least 20 per cent of the county by 2030.
Nationally it is being recommended to increase woodland cover to 19 per cent by 2050, but as Gloucestershire has a higher proportion of tree cover than the national average, the GLNP’s partners have set their aims much higher.
The strategy’s main principles include:
- Support Gloucestershire’s aim of becoming net carbon zero
- Nurture lifelong connections between trees and people, recognising health and wellbeing benefits
- Ensure that existing woodlands and trees are promoted, protected and well managed
To increase the county’s woodland cover from its current level of 13.5 per cent to 20 per cent will mean planting 35 million trees on 17,600 hectares of land, using a range of funding streams available. Detailed costings will be available at a later date.
New areas of woodland will be identified across the county’s six districts through engagement with landowners and the first trees are expected to be planted later this season.
Cllr Nigel Moor, cabinet member for environment and planning, said: “We know that planting trees will go a long way towards combatting the effects of climate change so this strategy will be of huge benefit to the county.
“We want to be at the forefront of this initiative nationally which is why our aim is to increase Gloucestershire’s tree and woodland coverage to 20 per cent in the next ten years. It will help us reach our target of becoming net carbon zero and I look forward to seeing the first trees planted.”
Doug Hulyer, GLNP chair, said: “Trees form part of an integrated, dynamic natural environment that supports wildlife, reduces flood risk, improves air quality and provides nature-rich spaces for people. By supporting the delivery of the strategy, the county council is demonstrating a commitment to environmental enhancement.
“Trees won’t stop climate change, but form part of a holistic, nature-based approach to addressing society’s challenges.”
Papers for the cabinet meeting on 14 October can be viewed here.