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15,000 new trees to be planted across Borough in next two years

Thursday, December 16, 2021

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A major tree planting drive will see 15,000 new trees across the Borough to help tackle climate change and improve local communities – and that’s just the beginning.

The Trees in Stockton-on-Tees initiative will also celebrate the Borough’s trees, new and old, raising awareness of their value and involve local communities in tree planting, aftercare and other activities. 

The Council, in partnership with national charity Trees for Cities, has secured  £360,000 total funding to plant 15,000 standard trees, fruit trees and young trees (whips) over the next two winters.

Work is under way to identify suitable locations for the tree planting and it is hoped this will just be the start of an on-going programme of tree/woodland planting and management across the Borough.

Why are trees important?

Because trees absorb carbon tree planting will contribute to the Council’s net zero ambitions.

But trees bring multiple benefits to communities, including providing habitats and increasing biodiversity, improving air quality, reducing flood risk, and having a positive impact on health and well-being. Trees can even increase property values.

What does Trees in Stockton-on-Tees want to achieve?

As well as increasing tree and woodland cover throughout the Borough, the initiative aims to raise awareness of the importance of trees and provide opportunities to celebrate them.

Community ownership of trees and woodlands will be encouraged, along with finding new ways of managing trees and woodlands for future sustainability.

Part of the funding will see the employment of a Community Tree and Woodland Officer to work with residents, partners and councillors to achieve these goals. The officer will primarily work in areas with low tree canopy cover and high levels of deprivation (based on Forestry Commission criteria).

What do Councillors think?

Councillor Mike Smith, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, said: “We know that planting trees in towns and cities has a hugely positive impact on people and our environment.

“The Trees in Stockton-on-Tees project represents a fantastic step towards both improving the Borough’s canopy cover and tackling ‘green inequality’ in more deprived areas.

“Working in partnership with residents, schools, businesses and other organisations it will help deliver the long-term sustainable management of the Borough’s trees and woodlands – making Stockton-on-Tees a greener place for all.”

Where is the money coming from for Trees in Stockton-on-Tees?

The first round of funding has been already been secured from Local Authority Treescapes Fund (£111,000), Urban Tree Challenge Fund 3 (£82,000), and Green Recovery Challenge Fund 2 (£63,000). 

Tell me more about Trees for Cities

National charity Trees for Cities was awarded a grant in July 2021 from the Government’s £40m second round of the Green Recovery Challenge Fund, a multi-million-pound boost for green jobs and nature recovery. The funding of over £1.2m secured by Trees for Cities will specifically focus on increasing tree cover in smaller coastal cities and towns with lower than average tree canopy cover and high levels of socio-economic deprivation.

Around 55,000 trees will be planted across 83 locations in seven coastal towns and cities through community tree planting events designed to green and revitalise coastal urban areas, engage local communities with nature and inspire a new generation to plant and protect urban trees.

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