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200,000 tree Colchester Woodland Project unveiled

Ambitious plans to plant 200,000 trees across the borough over the next five years through the Colchester Woodland Project have been unveiled today,

Date issued: 31 October

Ambitious plans to plant 200,000 trees across the borough over the next five years through the Colchester Woodland Project have been unveiled today, Thursday 31 October, by Colchester Borough Council.

The project - part of the Better Colchester campaign underpinning the council’s work to make Colchester an even more attractive place to live, work and visit – will help offset 32,000 tonnes of carbon in the lifetime of the trees. It is also the first of several planned actions following the declaration of a climate emergency by Colchester Borough Council. 

More than 20 sites across Colchester have been identified for the first year of tree planting, including Tile House Farm open space in Great Horkesley and Pondfield open space in Parsons Heath, with the aim of making the borough even greener. Work will begin to replace dead and felled trees, as well as planting new trees and copses, in National Tree Week which runs from 23 November to 1 December.

Planting will continue throughout planting season until the end of March 2020, and local community groups, residents, schools and businesses will be invited to get involved in the schemes near to where they live. There will also be a number of trees available to Parish Councils and local schools to plant on their own land, as well as plans to extend and provide thousands more trees in the Council’s annual Trees for Years giveaway in 2020.

 The project will be launched at Spring Lane Park in Lexden, on Saturday 23 November at 10.30am.  Residents and community groups are being encouraged to come along and get involved with planting on the day. If you wish to take part please register by emailing parks@colchester.gov.uk  Parking is limited at the site, so people are encouraged to walk to the site where possible.

Work has also begun to identify a site for a new community woodland site, with the aim of being able to start planting this major part of the scheme at the end of next year. The council is also working towards a Community Orchard at Colchester Cemetery, which has Green Flag status, and creating a Mayoral woodland in March next year.

Cllr David King, Portfolio Holder for Business and Resources, said: “Trees and woodlands are a vital part of our eco-system. We are committed to preserving them, helping them to flourish and planting thousands more each and every year. This is at the very heart of the Colchester Woodland Project.

“We will make our borough even greener. We will help our community to know, love and use our woods and parks, while being aware and benefitting from the environmental, health and well-being benefits they bring.

“We will encourage businesses, residents, community groups and schools to get involved, and build a voluntary network to help plant and maintain the trees for a greener future. Our message - love your trees, play your part, help us green our beautiful borough.”

In July the council became one of the first local authorities to declare a Climate Emergency, committing it to a series of steps to help Colchester play its part in protecting the planet, including becoming carbon neutral by 2030.

The borough has also been ranked joint top performer in the Eastern Region and equal third most climate-friendly area in England and Wales by Friends of the Earth. However, with only 8% of Colchester being woodland, much more can be done to increase tree cover - this announcement is the first step, more initiatives will follow.

Cllr Martin Goss, Portfolio Holder for Waste, Environment and Transportation, said: “The Friends of the Earth report clearly shows the commitment and strides this council and others are making to make Colchester greener. Including our stellar performance with recycling.

“I am proud of that work, but there is always more we can do. We had already recognised we needed to plant more trees which is why we made a commitment to creating the Colchester Woodland Project.

“Not only does the planting of 200,000 trees over the next five years actively demonstrate our commitment to climate change and to reducing our carbon footprint, but also to creating a Better Colchester now and for the future.”

The project supports the wide range of environmentally sustainable work the council is developing, including having a committed carbon management plan and building greener homes.

More information can be found at www.colchester.gov.uk/bettercolchester.

ENDS

For further information about this press release, please contact communications@colchester.gov.uk or 07815 088150.

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