What is the Trees for our Future project?
The ‘Trees for our future’ project is the name of Warwick District Council’s tree planting programme, with the ambitious target of planting 160,000 trees by 2030: one for every resident living in our district.
This is part of the Council’s ongoing commitment to help combat the impacts of climate change and will have a positive impact on health and wellbeing across the District.
Why are we doing this?
This project supports two key elements of the Council’s Climate Emergency Declaration:
- Being a carbon-neutral organisation by 2025
- Tackling the Climate Emergency, in terms of adaption and mitigation.
And there are numerous other benefits associated with tree planting:
- Habitat creation and improved connectivity for wildlife
- Benefits to physical and mental wellbeing
- Visual enhancements, improving the amenity of the district
- Increased biodiversity
- Reduction in soil erosion
- Flood alleviation
- Cooler temperatures
- Absorption of carbon and other pollutants
Woodland cover across our district is below the national averages of 10% across England and 13% across the UK. The Climate Change Committee recommends woodland should be increased to at least 17% of land area by 2050 and this project will help us achieve this.
Where are we planting?
We are planting trees across the district, both on land we own and on third party land in partnership with local landowners. This is not an exhaustive list but places we have planted trees to date include:
- St. Nicholas' Park
- Newbold Comyn
- Kenilworth Common
- Hampton Magna
- Victoria Park
- Oakley Wood
- Princess Close Gardens
- Crackley Wood
What are we planting?
When creating woodland we plant a combination of trees, shrubs and perennials, as this will maximise different habitat types and so increase the benefit to nature and local ecosystems.
We will not be counting shrubs and perennials towards our 160k tree planting target, as these are not tree species. But this does not mean these are not of value. Indeed, a mixture of trees, shrubs and perennials will be of greatest ecological benefit, providing a mixture of habitats for nature.
For clarity, only species classed as trees by either one of the Forestry Commission or Woodland Trust will count these towards our 160k target.
Are you only planting native trees?
The majority of trees we have planted or are planning to plant are native species. However, the Forestry Commission highlight the importance of species diversity and resilience to climate change and so we will also be planting some non-native species. These will play a key role in climate change adaptation, may be included in pilot schemes (for which there might be future grants) and they could be a better fit for the local climate.
What about hedgerows?
Traditional hedgerows are largely created from tree species that are kept deliberately short through trimming. This means tree species planted as part of hedgerows will count towards our target.
While these are not as beneficial for carbon sequestration as full height trees, these hedgerows are vitally important habitats for native birds, small mammals and invertebrates. They will also enable us to improve connectivity across the district, so wildlife can travel from one habitat to another.
Planting a mixture of full height trees alongside those kept deliberately short (as well as shrubs and perennials) will result in a variety of habitats that benefit and support a huge range of wildlife.
How are we getting on?
As of the end of the 2021/22 planting season (March 2022) we have planted almost 7,200k trees. While this is a small proportion of our 160,000 target, we expect to plant over 101,000 trees by 2030 at sites such as Tachbrook Country Park and Newbold Comyn. This means we need to identify a further 51,500 tree planting opportunities over the next eight years in order to hit out target.
For further details of our plans please see the report to Cabinet in March 2022.
Can you help?
Warwick District Council does not own enough suitable land to house such a large number of trees. We also need to focus on large scale planting schemes in order to make sure we reach our target of 160,000 trees.
As such, if you own land and would like to work with us to deliver the many benefits associated with tree planting please get in touch. We can then discuss how we can work together to improve Warwick District for all.
Tree planting with the Woodland Trust
If you’re looking to plant lots of trees, the Woodland Trust have the trees, grants and funding schemes to help.