Warwickshire is set to get a lot greener as WCC Cabinet approve the business case for a tree nursery to meet the county’s tree-planting needs.
It is great news for the environment and Warwickshire County Council’s tree planting aspirations as its Cabinet today (Thursday 8 September) approved the detailed business case for an extensive tree nursery that will service the county for generations to come.
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.
This tree planting will play a significant 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.
The UK market for trees is rapidly expanding with many local authorities and businesses making commitments to plant trees as part of their climate change response plans and efforts to make their businesses carbon neutral. As carbon sequestration schemes develop and the carbon market is established there is likely to only be a higher demand for trees to be planted around the UK.
Most trees are currently imported from Europe where there are well-established nurseries that grow large numbers of trees from seed. Whilst this has previously been a source of low-cost whips and saplings, concerns about
reducing the carbon footprint from the transport of trees and concerns over the transfer of pests and disease and raising importation cost are making the UK tree nursery market more attractive.
In response to these challenges, Warwickshire County Council has put together a business case for its own tree nursery, which will be established on a Council-owned small holding in an ideal location in Warwickshire. The plans for the nursery include:
- Polytunnels with automatic watering systems to save water;
- A storage area for tree stock as well as equipment; and
- A composting area where WCC forestry team maintenance waste and green waste from the Waste and Environment team will be composted for use as a peat alternative.
The site selected for the tree nursery will be centrally located close to Warwick and Stratford to provide minimal transportation throughout the county and where the soil and climate will meet the needs of the tree species to be grown and supplied throughout Warwickshire.
The tree nursery does not need to cover a large surface area as seedlings do not require a large amount of space during their early years of development and the proposed polytunnels will be able to house up to 8000 trees depending on the species of tree. As a result, the nursery will not be a substantial loss to the council’s leased farmlands.
In addition to helping Warwickshire County Council to meet its tree-planting aspirations over the next eight years, the tree nursery will also provide a valuable income stream with surplus whips and saplings being sold to other organisations and businesses in the County.
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, to make 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, which is why we are committing resources to establish this tree nursery.
“The Woodlands Trust have stated that to meet the UK’s carbon net-zero target, it will need to plant at least 1.44 million hectares of new forestry across the country. In Warwickshire, we are fully committed to playing our part in this huge tree planting challenge and this will be underpinned by our own tree nursery giving the county access to trees with the lowest possible carbon footprint and at market competitive prices.”
The Cabinet paper on the Tree Nursery business case can be found here: WCC Cabinet Thursday 8 September, item 8: Tree Nursery Business Case
Find out more about Warwickshire County Council’s commitment to planting a tree for every resident: https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/news/article/2528/a-tree-for-every-resident-in-warwickshire
The WCC Green Shoots Community Climate Change Fund has less than a month left on the current application period for climate-friendly projects from the community and voluntary sector. Apply today: https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/news/article/3212/less-than-a-month-for-climate-positive-projects-to-apply-to-the-green-shoots-community-fund
For more information about how Warwickshire County Council is facing the challenges of the climate change emergency, visit: https://www.warwickshireclimateemergency.org.uk/