Why and where 30,000 new trees will be planted in Lancashire
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The funding, from the Government’s Woodland Creation Accelerator Fund, will kickstart tree planting activity, create new green jobs and boost woodland cover. A collaborative project between Lancashire County Council, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council and Blackpool Council will receive £300,000 to plant trees and create woodlands. Alongside the Woodland Trust, Groundwork Trust, Ribble Rivers Trust and Lancashire Wildlife Trust, the project will work directly with district councils in the area to identify the optimal sites for planting, especially in urban and peri-urban locations.
Lancashire, Blackpool and Blackburn with Darwen (council authority areas) jointly have the ninth lowest woodland coverage in the country. This much-needed grant will fund four new posts to oversee the planting of 70 hectares of rural woodlands and a further 10,000 urban and peri-urban trees in 2023/24 and the planting of 100 hectares of rural woodlands and a further 20,000 urban and peri-urban trees in 2024/25
County Councillor Shaun Turner, Lancashire County Council's cabinet member for environment and climate change, said: "Our area is one of the lowest for woodland coverage and this grant will help us to address this crucial issue. The new Treescape officers will help us to access funding streams to create 170ha of rural woodland and plant an additional 30,000 trees in urban and peri-urban areas. Not only will the extra trees help to capture almost one hundred thousand tonnes of CO2, they will improve flood protection, biodiversity and air quality. They will also provide people with more opportunity to improve their physical and mental wellbeing."
Coun Jane Hugo, Blackpool Council Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environment, said: “We welcome this funding along with Lancashire County Council and Blackburn with Darwen. It will help our organisations working collaboratively to continue and enhance the positive work that is being undertaken across the region and locally in Blackpool to improve our green spaces, treescape and woodlands. Here in Blackpool we already have a robust Green and Blue strategy and tree strategy. This funding will help support our ambitious plans and work.”
Richard Stanford, Chief Executive, Forestry Commission, said: “Growing both our treescapes and the forestry sector workforce through this fund demonstrates how protecting and restoring our natural world with trees can unlock environmental, economic and social benefits for everyone.”
Hannah Bartram, Chief Executive Officer, Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport, said: “The Woodland Creation Accelerator Fund is set to make a real difference, supporting local authorities to accelerate their tree and woodland planting plans and helping to tackle the climate change and biodiversity crises. The fund has been well received and demand has been high – it will support local authorities across the country, equipping them with the new staff, skills, and expertise needed to drive tree planting and woodland creation commitments.”
The figure of one hundred thousand tonnes of sequestered CO2 used in County Coun Turner's quote is calculated on the basis of Forestry Commission figures of between 400-600 tonnes per hectare CO2 equivalent over a 100 year period.