I am incredibly proud of this. I first met with the Woodland Trust only a few weeks after Wokingham declared a Climate Emergency. We have shared our plans with them and listened closely to their feedback. This is a huge vote of confidence from them in our 250,000 tree planting programme and into our ongoing maintenance plans.
Council set to plant 250,000 trees across the borough
Wokingham Borough Council has gratefully received a grant of £300,000 from Woodland Trust to allow it to plant over 250,000 trees across the borough.
This funding, which is part of the Woodlands Trust’s £2.9 million campaign delivered from the charity’s new Emergency Tree Fund, will provide much needed support to local authorities including Wokingham borough to boost tree cover and tackle climate change.
The Trust is working with Wokingham Borough Council and ten other authorities across the UK in the first phase of the project and aims to expand the scheme further in 2022.
It is a key part of the charity’s recently announced ambitious aim to establish 50 million more trees by 2025 to help tackle both the nature and climate crises.
The council declared a climate emergency in July 2019 and committed to play as full a role as possible in achieving carbon neutrality by 2030, 20 years sooner than the government’s target of 2050.
Cllr Gregor Murray, executive member for resident services, communications and emissions at Wokingham Borough Council said, “As part of our goal to reach carbon neutrality by 2030, we committed to planting 250,000 trees over the next five years and this funding from the Woodland Trust is fantastic news for Wokingham borough.
“To get such a large financial contribution not only helps kickstart our tree planting programme but shows that the Woodland Trust thinks we are doing the right thing and has faith in our future tree maintenance as well. We welcome the invaluable advice and support from such a well-informed charity on the wide range of benefits that trees and woods can deliver over the next few years in relation to health, climate change, amenity and water management.”
Growing trees can help remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Not only is wood a great way of storing carbon but the right tree in the right place can help restore the soil around it and a significant amount of carbon dioxide can be sequestered here. Trees can also help communities to adapt to a changed climate by providing a cooling shade.
John Tucker, the Woodland Trust’s director of woodland outreach 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.”
For further information about the council’s Climate Emergency Action Plan visit the council website and search ‘climate emergency’.