Countywide tree planting project hits 250,000 mark

It's a major step forward in the drive to plant one tree for every person in the county

Councillor Blake Pain with a young tree ready to be planted

Ambitious plans to plant 700,000 trees across Leicestershire have reached a major milestone – with 250,000 trees now planted.

The landmark is a major step forward in Leicestershire County Council’s drive to plant one tree for every person in the county and to help secure a greener future for Leicestershire.

The authority supports the initiative by planting trees directly, applying for funding or giving away tree planting kits and is thanking residents for getting on board.

This is a great moment for the county as we mark this milestone – a quarter of a million trees planted around Leicestershire.

The benefits of trees and woodlands are huge, ecologically, environmentally and socially. The target of 700,000 trees is still a long way off, but I’m delighted that we’ve reached this significant point in our planting programme, and would like to thank everyone who has helped us on the way to our bold target.

Over the last year, the council has supported and been involved with a number of tree planting schemes across the county, working with community and nature groups to supply trees and help with the planting.

These planting schemes include:

  • Kegworth Bypass - The bypass was built in 2018 and already included some small areas of tree planting and wildflower seeded areas. With additional funding from the Forestry Commission’s Local Authority Treescape Fund, the council planted an additional 1,800 trees across the site in winter 2022 to link planted areas together and to provide new areas of native tree planting. The planting was supported by Kegworth Parish Council and the Kegworth Plan Group.
  • Harborough Woodlands - Volunteers from the Harborough Woodlands have now planted more than 34,000 trees, including 4.4km of new hedges in the Welland, Nene, Severn and Trent catchments. The group has encouraged farmers and local volunteers to work together to plant trees, hedgerows and other features to provide natural flood management around Harborough and further afield.
  • Ravenstone Woodland – during the winter of 2021, the council planted a new woodland on 8.6 hectares of farmland off Heather Road in Ravenstone. The site provides a link between the important National Forest sites of Sence Valley Forest Park to the east, the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Woodland to the west and Miners Wood to the north. A total of 12,000 native trees were planted across the site to create three large woodland compartments, and a significant area of tussock grassland was created to provide habitat suitable for birds of prey, particularly barn owls.

People across the county are being invited to play their part in making Leicestershire greener by planting their own trees and then recording them using the online tree recording form. These new trees will then contribute towards the 700,000 trees target, shown on the interactive tree map.

Earlier this year, the council announced plans to develop a community tree nursery in partnership with the National Forest, to collect seeds and grow 20,000 trees per year to plant across Leicestershire.

The nursery will also supply the National Forest Company and potentially other local authorities – although most of the trees grown at the site will be planted within the county.

A searchable website-based map which allows people in Leicestershire to play their part in protecting some of the county’s most valuable trees was launched earlier this year. The map details every Tree Preservation Order (TPO) managed by Leicestershire County Council and shows if an individual tree, group of trees or even entire woodlands, are covered by one of the orders.

The searchable map, as well as detailed information on TPOs, how to apply for permission to carry out works to a tree covered by a TPO and details of how to contact the TPO team for further advice, can be found on the Tree Preservation Order web page.

The council has also developed the Value of Trees toolkit - an innovative new resource which provides valuable guidance on the planting of trees and helps ensure that the right trees are planted in the right place.

It will be used by the authority’s highway planners to guide the re-establishment of trees along the highway and in the creation of new developments. It provides information on how to select the right species of tree for specific locations; the cost of looking after trees over their lifetime; best practice on planting and maintaining trees to ensure they thrive; and guidance on the monetary value of different species in terms of the ecosystem benefits they provide, such as carbon storage, erosion prevention, flood management and reducing air pollution.

The Value of Trees toolkit is now being piloted by the council, which hopes to work with a developer on a scheme – and may be adopted by other local authorities across the country as good practice.

A free tree scheme last year gave away a record 34,000 trees to farmers, landowners, community groups, parish councils and schools in a bid to encourage more tree planting across Leicestershire.

The free tree and hedgerow packs, supplied in partnership with the Woodland Trust, are designed to help renew and restore existing woodland and vegetation, as well as replacing trees which have been affected by diseases such as ash dieback.

More information on the council’s tree ambitions and the interactive map showing the number of trees planted is available on the council's Tree for Every Person website.

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