Partnership planting marks National Tree Week in Essex

Partnership planting marks National Tree Week in Essex

More than 14,000 trees are due to be planted at a site in Chelmer Valley, Chelmsford this National Tree Week as part of a collaborative effort between Essex County Council’s (ECC) Essex Forest Initiative, The Woodland Trust and Ground Control’s Evergreen Fund.

The Essex Forest Initiative is ECC’s commitment to planting 375,000 trees - £1million worth - over five years in order to tackle climate change and lock up 60,000 tonnes of carbon. It is part of wider efforts being undertaken by the county council to reduce carbon emissions and promote green infrastructure across Essex.

National Tree Week runs between 28 November until 6 December and ECC has formed a partnership with conservation charity, The Woodland Trust and landscaping specialists, Ground Control, to carry out planting at this site.

The Woodland Trust is supplying the majority of the 14,110 trees and Ground Control is undertaking the planting which is being funded by their charitable arm, the Evergreen Fund.

The planting at Chelmer Valley is the first large-scale planting under the initiative and a celebration of the partnership between the three organisations.

Further planting is scheduled to take place during tree planting season (November-March) at Essex Country Parks and other sites across the county, and ECC is set to meet its target of 25,000 trees planted in the first year of the Essex Forest Initiative.

Cllr Simon Walsh, ECC’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change Action, said: “I can think of no better way to mark this year’s National Tree Week and indeed the start of this year’s planting season than by coming together with partners to achieve a significant milestone within the Essex Forest Initiative.

“The initiative is a vital part of our plans to address climate change and support green infrastructure across the county and it is important that we take a collective approach to doing so.

“Although our scheduled plantings look a little different to what we had originally planned this season, we are really pleased they have still been able to go ahead and we remain on track to not only achieving, but exceeding our target for the number of trees planted this year.

“I look forward to continuing our work with partners to achieve our vision and leave a positive legacy for future generations.”

Woodland Trust outreach adviser Edwin van Ek said: “The Woodland Trust is delighted to be able to support this initiative. We need new native woodland like never before.

“Government has committed to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 which will require the expansion of the UK’s tree canopy cover from 13 per cent to 17 per cent. To reach that target there needs to be a huge upturn in the amount of woodland being created.

“Last month we launched the Big Climate Fightback and working at a landscape scale in collaboration with other organisations we aim to help deliver on the commitment of successfully establishing 50 million trees across the country by 2025 to help tackle the climate change crisis. The Essex Forest Initiative will be a great way to support that ambition in the Eastern Claylands.”

Chris Bawtree, Environmental Lead at Ground Control, said: "Ground Control’s Evergreen Fund is excited to be supporting the project. The planting of over 14,000 trees is especially rewarding as the woodlands will provide new multifunctional habitats benefitting both wildlife and the local community.

“The two new woodlands will contribute to natural flood prevention, increased biodiversity and take up carbon, helping meet Essex County Council's sustainability goals and Ground Control’s core value of caring for our environment."

All Essex Forest Initiative plantings are being undertaken in line with appropriate Covid guidelines and social distancing is being maintained at all times.

Planning for Year 2 of the Essex Forest Initiative is also in progress, with key sites identified for planting.

Any organisations or individuals who wish to find out more about the initiative or who thinks they may have land suitable for planting are encouraged to contact environment@essex.gov.uk.

To stay up-to-date with the latest Essex Forest Initiative news and progress, residents and organisations are encouraged to follow EssexForest on Facebook.

Last updated 27 November 2020