Suffolk continues to create the greenest county with £150,000 for new trees

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A joint bid by a number of Suffolk’s authorities has secured funding from the Forestry Commission to plant around 3,000 trees this coming planting season.

Suffolk County Council submitted the bid on behalf of itself, Ipswich Borough Council, Babergh District Council, Mid Suffolk District Council and West Suffolk District Council. The successful bid will see £149,712.55 come into the county for new trees, from the Local Authority Treescapes Fund.

The fund targets treescapes that have been neglected or suffered damage in the past, including disused and vacant community spaces and those affected by tree diseases such as ash dieback. The locations are chosen where they are likely to be experienced directly by people, as well as on improving the age structure of trees in all the project areas.

One of the interesting methods being adopted to re-establish woodland as part of this project, is the Miyawaki method.

It is regarded as one of the most effective tree planting methods for creating cover quickly on neglected land, or land that has previously been used for construction or agriculture. It uses natural principles, such as using trees already native to the area and replicating natural regeneration processes, and is particularly effective in the urban environment.

Councillor Richard Rout, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance and Environment at Suffolk County Council, said:

“I’m delighted to have secured this funding, as it means Suffolk will benefit from even more tree planting this coming season and we can make more progress towards the county’s joint ambition of Net Zero by 2030. We are also supporting our wildlife and biodiversity, and offering more green spaces for people to get in touch with nature and support their health and wellbeing.

“Last year, the county council committed £228,000 to treeplanting and hedgerows, with 100,000 planted already and the same amount to be planted this coming season. With the Suffolk Tree Warden Network, we are following the ‘right tree, right place’ policy, to be sure that the planting is effective and has the best chance of establishing itself.”

One example of tree-planting with this project, is the planting of over 100 trees at Needham Lake. The lake is actually a flooded gravel pit close to Needham Market, with part of the site a nature reserve with wetland areas, meadows and a small woodland. The project will create an area of wet woodland alongside the river to link two small, wooded areas together. The trees will include Alder, Downy Birch, White and Grey Willow.

The planting will also contribute to Suffolk’s commitment to support the Queen’s Green Canopy project. Suffolk is working towards linking up existing woodland with the planting of new trees and hedges to connect communities and encourage natural corridors for biodiversity, aiming to plant a tree for every resident.

Partner comments

Councillor Elisabeth Malvisi, Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Transport at Babergh District Council:

“Improving tree coverage in our district, with the right sort of trees in the right places, is one of the key elements of our Biodiversity Action Plan. We all recognise that trees are vital not only in supporting our communities’ health and wellbeing, but in providing habitat for our wildlife so necessary to our joint survival.

“The funding will play a significant role in helping us achieve this, by enabling us to build on our work already underway to map, in detail, the tree coverage as well as the all-important existing and potential wildlife corridors in Babergh.”

Councillor Phil Smart, Ipswich Borough Council's Portfolio Holder for Environment & Climate Change:

“We are delighted to have secured £43,434 in funding to plant 2,475 trees in Ipswich, and with the match funding we have committed alongside this we will be looking to plant a total of 2,840 trees as part of this project, some of which will be used to create mini pop-up forests in four Ipswich parks and open spaces, including Castle Hill and Sherrington Road recreation grounds.

“The quality green spaces that these forests and other tree planting will create will help lessen the impacts of climate change, support biodiversity and improve air quality within the town, as well as allow residents to connect with nature for the benefit of their mental and physical wellbeing.”

Councillor Jessica Fleming, Cabinet Member for Environment at Mid Suffolk District Council:

“This is welcome news and a vital step in achieving our biodiversity ambitions for the district – protecting and strengthening our plant life and wildlife.

“Covid has highlighted the importance of our green spaces and nature, and their impact on our wellbeing, more than ever before – with our Needham Lake site, set to receive new trees thanks to this funding, having also been ranked Visit England’s 12th most visited free tourist attraction in the UK during 2020.”

Councillor Jo Rayner, Portfolio Holder for Leisure, Culture and Community Hubs for West Suffolk Council:

“We welcome this funding as part of our work to tackle climate change as well as protect and enhance the local environment. This money will be used to plant and help establish a tree belt along the boundary of the George Lambton Playing Fields in Newmarket. The tree belt will provide a screen along the boundary of the industrial estate and enhance the bio-diversity of the site. West Suffolk Council continues to invest in its Parks and Public Open Spaces. This commitment to invest, coupled with the quality of its management regimes, has recently been recognised in the announcement that six of its sites have received the Green Flag Award.”