A LEAFY Warwickshire for all residents to enjoy is the aim of council chiefs.
As world leaders gather in Glasgow for COP26, Warwickshire County Council (WCC) has unveiled tree planting plans for the coming years that will see a tree for every resident planted across the county – some 600,000.
The 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, and which provided inspiration for Shakespeare.
WCC – along with district and borough councils – has already put in a bid for £212,000 from the Forestry Commission’s Local Authority Treescape Fund to plant 2,000 standard trees.
These native trees would be used to restore hedgerows on local authority-owned farms and public open space in the more rural areas of the county.
This tree planting will play a role in contributing to the WCC’s commitment to address the global climate change emergency while also 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, help reduce the risk of flooding and create shade.
They also create habitats for wildlife from the moment they are planted and until long after they have died.
Studies have also shown trees are beneficial for physical and mental wellbeing.
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 designed to allow anyone who has planted a tree to register it with the virtual forest.
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.
WCC environment spokeswoman Coun Heather Timms 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 have 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.”
Visit virtualforest-tfwm.hub.arcgis.com/pages/tree-planting-groups for more information about the WMCA Virtual Forest.