An incredible 700,000 trees are to be planted in Leicestershire – that’s a tree for every resident

It’s going ahead because Leicestershire is one of the least-wooded areas of the country

Friday, 9th July 2021, 4:24 pm
An incredible 700,000 trees are to be planted in Leicestershire – that’s a tree for every resident.
An incredible 700,000 trees are to be planted in Leicestershire – that’s a tree for every resident.

An incredible 700,000 trees are to be planted in Leicestershire – that’s a tree for every resident.

The impressive scheme to make the county greener and boost biodiversity is being launched by the county council.

And it’s going ahead because Leicestershire is one of the least-wooded areas of the country.

It only has six per cent woodland – well below the national average of 10 per cent.

Cllr Nick Rushton, the leader of Leicestershire County Council, said: “Trees and woodlands enhance our quality of life.

“They support wildlife, help combat climate change and add beauty to our towns, villages and countryside.

“But they face unprecedented challenges.

“We want to protect and enhance Leicestershire’s trees and woodlands so that they will continue to benefit future generations.”

The county council manages around 321,000 trees (including 404 hectares of woodland).

But with diseases such as Ash Die Back threatening more trees, the authority’s strategy and action plan, adopted in May 2020, will see the number of trees across the county increase dramatically.

It has already started to improve thanks to the National Forest.

The initiative has increased forest cover in the north west corner of Leicestershire to 21 per cent.

“This is a success story which the council is keen to replicate elsewhere.

“In towns, villages, on farms, country parks and open spaces and embedded in the design of new housing and employment developments,” said the county council.

“The tree planting will also support the county council’s pledge to become carbon neutral by 2030, as trees and woodlands play an important part in cleaning up the environment, providing clean air, improving soil quality and reducing flooding.”

Cllr Blake Pain, the council’s cabinet member for the environment, said: “The need for increased tree cover, both globally and locally, is well documented as a major action to mitigate climate change.

“We are determined to take action now to ensure future generations can enjoy the wide-ranging benefits brought by trees and woodlands.”

And it’s not just the environment which will benefit – it’s well known that a walk among trees reduces stress and improves mental wellbeing.

The council has submitted applications for grant funding to the Forestry Commission to help tree planting projects take root.

Leicestershire County Council provides a free tree scheme for farmers and landowners.

The authority works closely with the Woodland Trust to offer tree packs for planting projects - including the new hedgerows and the creation of new woodlands.