Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the North
7:00 AM 11th March 2021

£200k Boost To Bring More Trees To The Heart Of Sheffield

Urban tree cover. Photo by the Woodland Trust
Urban tree cover. Photo by the Woodland Trust
Sheffield is to receive a cash boost to establish a reputation as one of the greenest, tree-friendly cities in the UK.

The £200,000 cash boost will enable its “Treevitalise” project to plant more trees across the city- and engage citizens in the planting, care and appreciation of their trees, woods and greenspaces.

The money is being delivered from the Woodland Trust’s new pilot Emergency Tree Fund to enable local authorities to break through barriers and get more trees in the ground. Sheffield’s bid is backed by funding from Woodland Trust corporate partner IKEA, which is keen to get involved as the project develops.

The news comes just three years after charities and campaigners were in a battle to save some of Sheffield’s street trees being removed and replaced as part of the council’s Streets Ahead Highways Maintenance contract.

Joseph Coles, Urban Programme Lead at the Woodland Trust said:

“Sheffield has always been blessed with trees, whether it be woodlands or majestic street trees.

“Three years’ ago our involvement in Sheffield was purely focused on trying everything we could to put a stop to street tree felling. But since then, things have changed dramatically. There’s a new partnership of stakeholders - including the Woodland Trust, who are striving to repair the damage through genuine collaboration. That we now have the confidence to honour our promise to support the council, is testament to their hard work and commitment.”

“It’s fantastic that today we can provide Sheffield with the money to bring a lasting legacy for trees and people in the city.”

Liz Ballard, CEO Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust, and Chair of the Sheffield Street Trees Partnership said:

“We’ve come a long way with the development of a partnership Street Tree Strategy. It's good to see that all our hard work has built confidence to invest in new trees and woodland , with all the added benefits they will bring to the people and wildlife of this wonderful city”

Catherine Nuttgens, Community Forestry Manager at Sheffield City Council said:

“The trees and woodlands of Sheffield fuelled the creation of the city we live in and continue to shape its character to this day.

“As a result, most people in Sheffield live within walking distance of woodland, and many have enjoyed the proximity to these wonderful places during lockdown. The Community Forestry team have worked for over 15 years in the city to help continue this rich woodland heritage, enabling communities to plant and celebrate trees.

“The Treevitalise project will revitalise Community Forestry and help us understand our urban forest better whilst accelerating our ambition to grow it further. The project will also help us to create community orchards, run sessions with schools and hold public events to celebrate trees. Trees bring many benefits to communities, and when the public are involved in their care, the trees benefit too.”

In total, £2.9 million will going to councils across the country. It is a key part of the charity’s recently announced ambitious aim to plant 50 million trees by 2025.

John Tucker, the Woodland Trust’s Director of Woodland Outreach at the Trust said:

“The Trust’s Emergency Tree Fund has the power to inspire tree planting and woodland creation and galvanise the need to treasure trees and green spaces in neighbourhoods across the UK. What the country’s fight against COVID has shown is how communities have come together in a time of crisis. As the pandemic hopefully abates, getting outside and planting, maintaining and enjoying trees will be a way for this spirit to be harnessed once again in a different but a very important way - to tackle the climate and nature crises which also affects us all.”

Among the aims of the Emergency Tree Fund are to boost green spaces and therefore health, plant trees to soak up harmful carbon, combat pollution and create detailed strategies to meet carbon zero targets.

Bolsover Council is another which will benefit from the funding, receiving just over £280,000. It is looking to engage the public in creating a series of community forests, including on a former colliery site. Meanwhile Wolverhampton is looking to plant pockets of trees in a range of locations across the city.

To achieve its 50 million tree aim the Trust is aiming to create new woods as well as work with the likes of landowners, the Government, businesses and the public. Its Emergency Tree Fund may be expanded should this prove a success. Find out more: here: