The number of trees in Bath & North East Somerset could be doubled as part of the council’s commitment to tackle the climate emergency with an early ambition of planting 100,000 trees, with partners and communities, by May 2023.
The council aims to deliver on ambitions published by the West of England Nature Partnership to double woodland across the district by 2060 and is currently carrying out surveys on current canopy coverage.
Councillor Dave Wood, joint cabinet member for Climate Emergency and Neighbourhood Services, said: “These are ambitious plans to tackle the climate emergency that shows Bath and North East Somerset Council is leading the way nationally on tree planting. Following the local elections we said we would show real leadership on tackling the Climate Emergency and this is just one example of what we are doing.
“Knowing the positive contribution that trees make to reducing pollution, mental health, averting flooding, producing vital oxygen and absorbing carbon dioxide, I am committed to increased tree planting. However, reforestation and re-wilding needs to be considered properly alongside the diversity of habitats.
“Our Parks team replants up to eight trees for every one felled by development and is already investing £65,000 in tree planting in parks over the next five to 10 years. The Bathscape project is working with landowners on better managed woodlands, grasslands and planting trees in the right places to prevent loss of wildlife-rich habitats.”
A detailed Tree and Woodland Plan will be produced showing where the trees could go and how the planting will be resourced in partnership with communities, volunteers and landowners.
Ross Kennerley, South West Regional Director at Woodland Trust, said: “The Woodland Trust fully supports this leadership by Bath & North East Somerset Council in response to the climate emergency. Not only are trees excellent at capturing carbon, they are vital to healthy, resilient and wildlife-rich places – both in our cities and the countryside. We look forward to working with the council and the wider West of England area through the West of England Nature Partnership to get the right trees in the right place, for people and wildlife.”
More than 2,000 trees have already been planted in Bath & North East Somerset this year through the council working with community groups and partners and funded by contributions from new developments within the district.
The plans lead up to the Woodland Trust’s Big Climate Fightback in November which aims to get more than a million people to pledge to plant a tree during a special day of mass tree planting on 30 November.
In Bath & North East Somerset, the Woodland Trust will be planting 5,000 trees this winter. For more information and to pledge to plant a tree visit: www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/bigclimatefightback
A West of England Tree and Woodland Strategy will be developed with the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs, Forestry Commission, Woodland Trust, National Trust and other unitary authorities. More information about the West of England Nature Partnership plans can be found at http://www.wenp.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Towards-a-Nature-Recovery-Network-for-the-West-of-England-A-Methodology.pdf