A leafy Warwickshire for all residents to enjoy as Warwickshire County Council commits to extensive tree planting.
With the 2021/22 tree planting season underway, and as world leaders gather in Glasgow for COP26, Warwickshire County Council has ambitious tree planting plans for coming years that will see a tree for every resident planted across the county.
This tree planting has been strategically planned to restore parts of forests and wooded areas that have been long lost to time, such as the ancient Forest of Arden, which once covered most of the county and beyond into Staffordshire and Worcestershire.
To this end, the Council has been successful – along with partners in the District and Borough Councils – in their bid for £212k from the Forestry Commission's Local Authority Treescape Fund to plant 2000 standard trees. As one Warwickshire, these native trees will be restoring hedgerows on local authority-owned farms and public open space in the more rural areas of the county.
This tree planting will play a huge role in contributing to the Council's commitment to addressing the global climate change emergency and will restore the Ancient Arden Landscape and other landscape character areas while improving biodiversity by creating extensive new habitats for wildlife.
Trees are valuable for many reasons: they capture carbon from the atmosphere and harmful particulates from the air we breathe. They create shade when it's very hot, and they help reduce the risk of flooding. They also create habitats for wildlife from the moment they are planted, until long after they have died. Studies have also shown that planting them, and getting out amongst them, is also great for physical and mental wellbeing.
The Council’s tree planting ambitions are not just limited to the above, it is also funding a number of schemes through the Green Shoots Community Climate Change Fund – such as the Children’s Forest at Leasowe Farm – and is also supporting the Queen’s Green Canopy, which encourages residents to plant trees for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee
To keep track of trees being planted across the county, Warwickshire County Council has recently signed up to the West Midlands Combined Authority’s Virtual Forest Platform. This is an online mapping tool that is designed to allow anyone who has planted a tree to register it with the virtual forest and it is hoped that all new tree plantings across the county, and the wider region, will be registered there.
The West Midlands Virtual Forest is not just for local authorities, it is also an opportunity for Warwickshire residents to get involved in making the region a greener, happier and healthier place to live, work and play. The platform is open to everyone, whether they are a resident, a community group, a business, a landowner or a school.
Cllr Heather Timms, Portfolio Holder for Heritage, Culture and the Environment, said: “There are no greater challenges facing humanity than those posed by the climate emergency. The response to this crisis cannot be met by local or national governments acting alone. It will require a concerted effort by all of us, making changes, large and small, to reverse the damage that we have done to our planet and its ecosystems. Tree planting will be integral to this response.
“There are few better demonstrations of our commitment, as local authorities in Warwickshire, to play our part in addressing the climate emergency than our coming together with a commitment to plant a native tree for each of our residents.
“The Woodlands Trust has stated that to meet the UK’s carbon net-zero target, it will need to plant a million more trees across the country. In Warwickshire, we are now committed to playing our part in planting close to half that amount.”
More information about the WMCA Virtual Forest can be found here: https://virtualforest-tfwm.hub.arcgis.com/pages/tree-planting-groups
For more information about how Warwickshire is facing the challenges of the climate change emergency, visit: https://www.warwickshireclimateemergency.org.uk/
Get the latest news about how Warwickshire County Council and partners are facing the challenge of the climate emergency and how you can get involved: http://eepurl.com/hrk-zf