THE last week in January may seem an unusual time to plant hundreds of Christmas trees, but that is what is being done in a bid to create a new stretch of sand dunes.
A 140 metre trench has been dug along the coast to St Annes from the former Pontins site.
Up to 140 Christmas trees discarded by Fylde households after the festive holiday have been part buried in an attempt to catch the sand as it is blown towards land.
It comes after Fylde Council secured £520,000 funding to improve sand dunes between Starr Gate and Lytham Green.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) grant will go towards improving the “poor condition” of the dunes on the Fylde coast to reduce the risk of coastal flooding and erosion by widening them by up to 30 metres.
Fylde’s sand dune project officer Lynn Ashton said the hope was planting Christmas trees would see the natural habitat spread as if there had been no human intervention.
She added: “We want to encourage the dunes to grow as close as possible to the natural formations to get the proper species to become present. Otherwise we just have a sand hill with a grass top.
“The Christmas trees should work amazingly well, trapping the sand beautifully.”
The idea of using Christmas trees to develop the new dunes comes from research in Sefton, Mersyside. By the summer, it will be known if the dunes project has worked.
Fylde’s senior coast and countryside officer, Geoff Willetts said around a dozen volunteers showed up to help plant the trees, many of which were collected from the borough’s recycling points earlier this month.
He added: “We’ve created the basis for the dunes, and we are trying to encourage them to go seaward to strengthen our sea defence and take some of the pressure off the established dunes.”
Coun Tony Ford, who represents St Annes on Fylde Council, said he and a team of helpers collected 350 Christmas trees from the town towards the project.
He added: “We’ve collected trees for the last four years for recycling, but this year we collected more than three times what we have in the past.”