£10 million fund launched to plant 130,000 urban trees

A £10 million plan to plant 130,000 trees in towns and cities has been launched by the UK Government.

The Urban Tree Challenge Fund aims to green urban areas, helping to meet the target to plant one million urban trees by 2022 and grants will be made available over the next two years.

Applications will be processed by the Forestry Commission and the scheme is open to individuals, local authorities, charities and NGOs. Grants cover initial planting costs and the first three years of care to ensure they flourish. A map will be available to check eligibility before applying.

This is a challenge fund, which means matched funding is needed from applicants and it will support projects considered to have the greatest environmental and social benefits.

Sir Harry Studholme, Forestry Commission Chair said:

“The fund is an important part of the work that the Forestry Commission is doing to expand England’s tree and woodland cover.

It 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.”

Planting projects are an essential part of the response to the climate emergency as trees absorb carbon dioxide, which is responsible in part for the heating of the planet, causing increasing environmental damage.

Health and wellbeing

The presence of trees in towns and cities also absorbs noise, reduces flood risk, while providing communal green spaces and shade for better health and wellbeing, connecting people with the outdoors.

The fund forms part of the Government’s Year of Green Action to help people to connect with, protect and enhance nature, which itself is an element of the 25-year Environment Plan, with a focus on children and young people.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said:

“Trees are vital in the fight against climate change, which is why we must go further and faster to increase planting rates.

We need trees lining the streets of our cities and towns, not only to green and shade them but to ensure that we remain connected to the wonders of the natural world and the health and wellbeing benefits that it brings us.”

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. We need to be planting many more trees over the next 25 years, and England’s Community Forests welcome this new investment.”

The Urban Tree Challenge Fund will open for applications from tomorrow (23 May 2019).

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