Council staff and volunteers have now planted over 35,000 trees across Kirklees to help reduce carbon emissions, improve the natural environment and contribute to the White Rose Forest.
Volunteer groups, local residents and Kirklees Council employees have helped to plant 25 hectares of trees (the equivalent of approximately 35 football pitches) at more than 30 different sites in Kirklees since Autumn 2019.
Planting season for 2020/21 is coming to an end with over 26,000 trees having been planted this winter alone by staff teams, as volunteer support was restricted due to Covid-19.
A mixture of native and non-native species of trees were planted according to suitability for the site, including sycamore, sweet chestnut, and oak, pine, and cherry varieties.
The council has committed to significant further tree planting over the next five years. An additional 64 hectares of council-owned land has already been identified for new woodland creation and work is continuing to identify further sites across the district.
The aim is to create a network of new woodlands to help improve local and regional biodiversity and create new natural spaces for people to enjoy.
The council’s vision is for Kirklees to be carbon neutral by 2038 and planting more trees is just one of the ways it plans to meet this target.
Increasing electric vehicles in the council’s fleet as well as encouraging more residents to make the switch is also part of Phase One. As well as the environmental benefits, trees are proven to have important health and well-being benefits, help manage flood risk and improve the local economy.
Clr Paul Davies, Cabinet Member for Culture and Greener Kirklees, said: “Planting trees is one of the best ways to help us in our commitment to tackle climate change as they lock in carbon, help prevent flooding, improve air quality and biodiversity, as well as boosting personal well-being.
“The 35,000 trees planted over the last year and a half will soon flourish and provide a valuable community resource for future generations.”
Clr Naheed Mather, Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “Every year an area of woodland the size of the UK is lost, and in the past five years, this rate has accelerated. We are planting trees for the future, for our children and the generations that follow them.
“The great work done by the staff and volunteers across Kirklees to help grow the White Rose Forest will be a lasting improvement to our natural environment.”