130,000 trees to be planted across England to combat climate change

Abby Young-Powell

More than 130,000 trees will be planted across towns and cities in England to help combat climate change, the government has said.

Grants totalling £10m will be made available through the Urban Tree Challenge Fund over the next two years.

The scheme, 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.

Trees absorb carbon dioxide making them vital in the fight against climate change. Their presence in towns and cities can also absorb noise, reduce flood risk, and create green spaces associated with better health and wellbeing.

Sir Harry Studholme, chair of the Forestry Commission, said: “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. We look forward to lots of new planting happening this autumn.”

Paul Nolan, Chair of England’s Community Forests and director of The Mersey Forest, said: “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.”

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, appointed the government’s "tree champion" last year 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.