Environment

More than 1,800 trees planted through free tree offer

Photo of Landmark Tree Planting in Okehampton(Tree planting carried out before social distancing measures introduced)

Posted on: 5 May 2020

More than 1,800 trees were planted across Devon during March through two initiatives offered by Devon County Council.

The County Council, in association with the UK’s leading woodland conservation charity The Woodland Trust, offered a limited number of packs of sapling trees via the Devon Ash Dieback Resilience Forum website.

Landowners from 40 sites across the county took up the offer to plant a mix of native broadleaved trees through the scheme to create new tree clumps and copses.

Photo of trees planted in the Teign ValleyThe free packs provided a mix of oak, rowan and birch trees as well as guards and canes to protect them against damage.

A total of 30 Town and Parish Councils also received trees after local councils were invited to apply for commemorative planting of single ‘landmark trees’ in prominent and accessible locations. This aimed to encourage community awareness of the vital role of tree planting in tackling environmental threats, particularly climate change and the huge loss of native ash trees through ash dieback.

Photo of Councillor Roger Croad

Councillor Roger Croad

Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for environment, said: “We had an incredible amount of interest in these two schemes with more than 240 private landowners, town councils and parish councils applying for the free trees. While we couldn’t provide trees for everyone, this was a successful pilot and for those who we haven’t been able to support immediately, hopefully they will be able to receive trees through the upcoming Saving Devon’s Treescapes project, which is being led by the Devon Wildlife Trust, on behalf of the Devon Ash Dieback Resilience Forum.

“All of these initiatives make a contribution to addressing the Climate Emergency, while also supporting wildlife and our landscape in the county. They also promote the need to plant trees to replace those that will unfortunately be lost to ash dieback, and hopefully it will encourage others to plant trees in their local communities.”

The free tree scheme was launched last December as part of National Tree Week and the Woodland Trust’s Big Climate Fightback, with Devon County Council marking the occasion by planting ten trees in the grounds of County Hall with the help of pupils from St Leonard’s Primary School and members of the Devon Youth Parliament.

The planting initiatives are part of the Devon Ash Dieback Resilience Forum’s ‘Devon Ash Dieback 3/2/1 Replacement Principle’, which promotes the replanting of three trees for each mature specimen which is lost to the disease; two for semi-mature trees; and the replacement of one new tree for each young ash which is removed.

Devon Wildlife Trust, on behalf of the Devon Ash Dieback Resilience Forum, has developed a new £2.4 million project called ‘Saving Devon’s Treescapes. Funding contributions from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the County Council, The Woodland Trust and others will enable this to support the planting of 250,000 new trees in the county, outside of woodland areas, over the coming few years.

More information is available on the Devon Ash Dieback Resilience Forum website.

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