The next steps of an ambitious programme to plant a tree for every resident in Bucks took a step closer to fruition last night after Cabinet agreed plans to progress the scheme.
The large scale tree planting aims to see approximately 543,000 trees planted on large sites of council-owned land over the next ten years in a bid to address climate change in Buckinghamshire. It is planned that the scheme, which links to the Climate Change Strategy, would see the 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 they will deliver.
“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 wellbeing.
“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 right 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 we will still be planting trees this season; it’s anticipated that approximately 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 delivered in full, the project has the potential to create at least 200 hectares of new woodland in Buckinghamshire, that’s the equivalent of 285 full sized football pitches or the size of Monaco.
Tree planting in our parks, open spaces and along highways will continue outside and beyond this project.
Information about Buckinghamshire Council’s current approach to sustainability and climate change can be found at: https://www.buckscc.gov.uk/services/environment/sustainability/climate-change/