Thousands of trees will be planted this year after £500,000 pounds of funding was secured by the council from the Forestry Commission.
The total number of trees to be planted at 31 locations across 13 wards will be 9,051 as part of the Urban Tree Challenge Fund launched by the government department. The borough was just one of 13 local authorities to awarded funds.
The match funding bid was submitted to the Forestry Commission in the summer and after confirmation it was successful the trees have been chosen and will be planted in the borough during optimum planting conditions from this spring. The money will also be used to cultivated the trees over the next four years.
The trees due to be planted include birch, oak, spruce, pine, rowan, beech, and hawthorn and will be of different ages from whips of under a metre tall and feather standards, of almost two metres, to standard trees up to three metres tall.
The first five areas where planting will take place are Godolphin Recreation Ground, Farnham Lane, Scafell Park, Harvey Park and Faraday Recreation Ground.
The project will lead to collaborations with community groups and residents with planting days along with climate change workshops and digital monitoring of what will be known as Urban Forest sectors. Some will be used as a leisure base for activities such as yoga and health walking while others will be used by school children as part of their education syllabus.
Councillor Rob Anderson, cabinet member for transport and environmental services, said: “Our aim is to provide an Urban Forest which is high in specification, functional in its structure, diverse in its character and easily accessible for residents.
“The tree planting across the majority of wards across the borough will have a positive affect on air quality and have a positive affect on personal health and wellbeing among other benefits to the environment.
“Not only will the trees create a lovey physical environment but we will be able to see first-hand
how the Urban Forest contributes positively to carbon sequestration in the borough.”
The bid had to compete with other council areas and prove the trees would be situated in urban areas, be of large and small specimens and would have the greatest environmental and social benefits.
The Forestry Commission aims to facilitate the planting of a million trees by 2022 in urban areas offering a range of benefits, including temperature moderation, flood risk mitigation and improved wellbeing – particularly when in close proximity to large populations.
The Forestry Commission launched the challenge as part of the global climate emergency.