Swale Borough Council is set to plant over 15,000 trees thanks to a government grant of £273,400.
The funding, which came from the Forestry Commission’s Local Authority Tree Fund, will enable the council to plant 15,000 whips and 350 standard trees over the next 2 years and forms an important part of the council's Climate and Ecological Emergency Action Plan.
The whips, when planted, will be under a metre tall and consist of a thin stem and few branches, but will grow into fully matured trees. They will be protected with biodegradable tree shelters.
The council confirmed: "the fund aims to restore trees to areas impacted by disease and habitat loss caused by both natural processes and human activity and this project will benefit our society and local ecosystems by improving biodiversity, increasing carbon absorption and protecting against flooding".
During the first winter planting season 10,000 whips and 200 standard trees will be spread across the borough, namely in Queenborough, Rushenden, Minster, Kemsley, Murston, Leysdown and Eastchurch. A wide variety of native trees are set to be planted including apple, pine, birch, oak, willow, maple, lime and a portion of the money will also be used to monitor and maintain the new trees for three years, with monthly visits taking place for the first eight months, at a minimum, to make sure they are safe and healthy.
The project is being done in partnership with Blenwood Grounds Maintenance but will also be seeking the help of volunteers from around the community.
Cllr Rich Lehmann, Chair of the environment committee at Swale Borough Council, told SFM News: “We are very proud as a council to have successfully bid for this funding; it's great news. With these funds we will be able to plant more trees around the borough as well as maintaining them over a three-year period. Whips will be planted to reforest areas, and standard trees will be being planted to line our existing green spaces and urban areas. This investment into our natural environment will continue to bear fruits for our communities for years to come as the trees grow and mature."
Cllr Lehmann went on to add: “This will make Swale a greener place and create habitats to support our ecosystems, while also helping reduce the risks of flooding and remove carbon from our atmosphere. We would like to thank the Forestry Commission for this funding and look forward to seeing some more green in our borough. Please look out for opportunities to volunteer and plant these trees, we would love for the community to be involved with this amazing project.”
The funding is part of the Government’s 'Nature For Climate' Fund.
You can find out more about Swale Bouncil's Climate and Ecological Emergency Action Plan by visiting: https://cee.swale.gov.uk/what-were-doing/our-declaration