Record haul of trees to help protect Fylde dunes

A record number of discarded Christmas trees are being planted in Fylde’s sand dunes – with just a handful of Fylde Council staff to carry out the job because of Covid.

By Tony Durkin
Monday, 8th February 2021, 4:20 pm

The lockdown restrictions mean volunteers, who have flocked to be involved in previous years, are now barred from participating as the haul of more than 2,500 trees is buried to protect against windblown sand and help preserve the dunes.

More than 400 eager helpers joined the council staff team last year to plant around 1,500 trees - the task this time, which started yesterday, will take considerably longer.

Fylde Council’s senior coast and countryside officer Geoff Willetts said: “I would hope we can put at least two to three days a week into the project over the next few weeks.

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Senior coast and counytryside officer Geoff Willetts (centre) with Fraser Monteath and Phil Edmondson.

“It is just sod’s law that we have received more trees than ever this year. Last year was around 1,500 but we have had over 2,000 previous to that.”

Amy Pennington, Fylde Sand Dunes Project Community Engagement Officer for the Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside, who works with the council on the project, said:

“We have received an astronomical amount of trees this year. It is essential these are buried to catch the sand blowing in from the strong onshore winds.

“A small team from Fylde Council is out there working hard and in the safest manner to ensure they go in to provide added coastal protection for our fantastic community.

Conservation operative Hilary Salkeld

“We hope the previous years’ volunteers will interact with us to help keep the project at the forefront of people’s minds. Although community engagement is restricted, we are still here, working hard to protect the dunes and coastal environment.”

The majority of the trees being planted this year – around 1,800 – were collected on behalf of Trinity Hospice and raised a record £23,000 in donations.

It was just the tonic for Trinity after a host of fund-rasing events had to be cancelled because of the pandemic.

Janet Atkins, Trinity’s corporate partnerships manager, said: “We were just overwhelmed with the support and the fact this has been our best year to date for trees collection donations shows people really are behind their local hospice. With such continued support, we can be there for everyone who needs us, through Covid and beyond.”

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