Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the North
7:24 PM 8th February 2020

Thousands Of Trees To Be Planted In England's Towns And Cities

Government to support tree-planting schemes through £10m Urban Tree Challenge Fund.

Thirteen projects in urban communities across England have been awarded a share of the £10m in the first round of the Urban Tree Challenge Fund.

Across the country over 22,000 large trees and 28,000 small trees will be planted in urban areas, from Thanet to Middlesbrough, and Merseyside to Bristol. These will help areas improve health and wellbeing, as well as playing a crucial role in the fight against climate change, supporting the UK’s journey to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

The Government is committed to plant 30,000 hectares of trees a year across the UK by 2025, and the fund is helping increase canopy cover in and around our towns and cities where they bring a wide range of benefits.

Launched in May 2019, the £10 million scheme will see 130,000 trees planted across England’s towns and cities by 2021.

Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers said:

"Trees are vital in the fight against climate change, to tackle air pollution and help us achieve our net-zero target by 2050. But for local communities they are so much more. They allow green spaces to come together, help both physical and mental wellbeing, and connect children and young people with nature.

Trees are vital in the fight against climate change

"Our manifesto sets our ambition to have every new street lined with trees, and the Urban Tree Challenge Fund complements this ambition, benefiting thousands of people for years to come."

Sir Harry Studholme, Chair of the Forestry Commission, said:

"It is such great news that the first year of the Urban Tree Challenge Fund has been so successful and able to reach so many places.

"The fund focuses on areas of high deprivation and low tree canopy cover where every tree planted has the change to provide the greatest impact.

"Not only do trees in urban areas help to improve wellbeing but they also offer benefits in many other ways like helping tackle climate change and mitigating flood risks. I look forward to seeing the second year of the fund re-opening for smaller scale planting later this year."

The Urban Tree Challenge Fund is made up of two parts. In year one, the fund was open for block bids from local authorities or larger organisations, and bidding closed on 31 August 2019. In year two, the fund will reopen for applications from individual tree planters, commencing in spring 2020.

Ahead of this, applicants can currently submit an Expression of Interest to the Forestry Commission to state their interest and receive the latest up-to-date information on the fund before the opening of the year two application window.

The grants are administered by the Forestry Commission, and successful applicants are match-funding the money they receive.

Grants will fund the planting of trees and the first three years of their care to ensure they can flourish into the future.

Since 2010 government has planted over 15 million trees, and they have a clear commitment through the 25 Year Environment Plan to increase woodland cover further. The recently introduced Environment Bill gives communities a greater say in the management of street trees.

The successful applicants in the North were:

Middlesbrough 10,000 trees
Tree-ing Urban Northumberland
Space for Trees (Durham)
Urban Trees in The Mersey Forest
City of Trees (Greater Manchester)

For an Urban Tree Challenge Fund expression of interest form go to: