Wirral lands £300k for tree planting scheme

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Young trees. Pic © Espresso Addict Wikimedia Commons

Wirral Council’s green programme is set to receive a major boost after a successful bid to the government’s Urban Tree Challenge Fund.

The fund, which aims to plant 130,000 new trees across urban Britain, will provide £300,000 to the council which is now required to match it.

Should the council approve its own £300,000 investment in March when it sits to decide next year’s budget; preparations can begin on the £600,000 project in April.

More than 1,700 new trees are then set to be planted in 50 different areas across the borough during November 2020 to February 2021.

The programme is part of a wider Mersey Forest bid to create greener urban areas on Merseyside, improving access and physical wellbeing whilst adapting for projected climate change.

Cabinet member for environment and climate change for Wirral Council, Elizabeth Grey, said: “It is vital that we plant more trees all across Wirral, as we try to fight against climate change and improve biodiversity.

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“It is not just a climate emergency, but an environment and biodiversity emergency and so we are also rewilding grass verges and sowing RHS-approved wildflower seeds in open spaces to feed and protect pollinating insects.”

She added: “I am meeting with MerseyForest to discuss further opportunities to transform Wirral into a leafy haven. We will plant in all areas we can, urban, rural, public land, private land, anywhere we are allowed.”

The government also promised in its autumn budget statement to set up a Woodland Carbon Guarantee scheme, which will eventually see 10 million new trees by purchasing £50 million of carbon credits for qualifying planting.

Liberal Democrat Councillor for Eastham, Phil Gilchrist, says he was one of the first to question the council about planting new trees after reading the budget plans.

He told JMU Journalism: “I started asking about the planting of new trees when I found that more trees were being cut down than planted and I drew the attention of council officers to it when the money was first announced.”

About Adam Higgins, JMU Journalism