More than 130,000 trees will be planted across England’s towns and cities to help combat climate change, the government has said.
Ten million pounds in grants will be made available through the Urban Tree Challenge Fund over the next two years.
The scheme, which will be administered by the Forestry Commission, will be open to individuals, local authorities, charities and NGOs. Grants will cover the planting of trees and the first three years of their care.
“Trees are vital in the fight against climate change, which is why we must go further and faster to increase planting rates,” Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, said in a statement.
Planting trees helps limit the damage caused by climate change because trees store carbon. In addition they improve health and wellbeing, connect people with the outdoors, absorb noise, reduce flood risk, provide shade, and create green spaces to help communities come together.
“This allows us to plant more trees much closer to where people live and work, and where the many benefits of trees make the most difference,” Sir Harry Studholme, chair of the Forestry Commission, says. “We look forward to lots of new planting happening this Autumn.”
The new trees will be planted just in towns and cities.
“There is an increasing understanding of the role that trees and woodlands play in helping to make our towns and cities better places for people and nature to thrive,” Paul Nolan, Chair of England’s Community Forests and Director of The Mersey Forest, says.
A grant for planting a tree will be delivered as a challenge fund, which means that it will require matched funding from those who apply. The scheme will support projects which can provide the greatest environmental and social benefits, and a map will be available to check eligibility before applying.
Sir William Worsley, who was last year appointed the government’s Tree Champion with the task of growing green spaces, said the benefits of planting trees are “endless”. “Trees are the lifeblood of our nation, and it is more important than ever to ensure they are rooted not only in our countryside, but in our towns and cities too,” he said.