Leafy Warwickshire set to become even greener - The Leamington Observer

Leafy Warwickshire set to become even greener

LEAFY Warwickshire is set to become greener following a successful tree planting season.

With the planting season – October to April – now complete, data provided by the West Midlands Combined Authority’s Virtual Forest mapping platform has revealed wide-spread tree-planting across the county.

Based on data provided by the platform, in total there were at least some 4,000 new trees and 1,600 hedges planted across the length and breadth of Warwickshire during the 2021/22 planting season.

Many of the trees that were planted during the season were funded using monies from the first round of the Green Shoots Community Climate Change Fund, such as the Children’s Forest at Leasowe Farm near Leamington.

Warwickshire County Council (WCC) 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, WCC was recently successful – along with partners in the district and borough councils – in their bid for £212,000 from the Forestry Commission’s Local Authority Treescape Fund to plant 2,000 standard trees. These native trees will be restoring hedgerows on local authority-owned farms and public open space in the more rural areas of the county.

The planting will play a significant role in contributing to WCC’s commitment to address the global climate change emergency and will also improve biodiversity by creating extensive new habitats for wildlife.

Trees are valuable for many reasons – from capturing carbon from the atmosphere and harmful particulates from the air people breathe to helping reduce the risk of flooding.

Studies have also shown that planting them, and getting out among them, is also beneficial for both physical and mental wellbeing.

Coun Heather Timms, WCC environment spokeswoman, 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, which is why it is so heartening to see so many new trees planted in Warwickshire during the last season.

“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.”

More information about the WMCA Virtual Forest can be found at virtualforest-tfwm.hub.arcgis.com

Visit www.warwickshireclimateemergency.org.uk/ for more information about how Warwickshire is facing the climate emergency challenge.

* The Green Shoots Fund is returning for a second round of funding and will be open for applications from June 17 and more information for community and voluntary groups interested in applying for funding is available at www.warwickshire.gov.uk/greenshootsfund


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