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Council grants support tree planting projects across the district

Over 4,000 trees are being planted in the Chichester District as part of a series of tree planting projects funded through Chichester District Council's Tree Chichester District scheme.

Fishbourne Primary School pupils helping with planting of Fishbourne Roman Palace's community orchard

The projects, which began last November and will be completed in March this year, include five community orchards in Selsey, Chichester and Fishbourne, two community tree nurseries in West Wittering and Selsey, as well as a new mini urban forest planted in Hambrook.

This work builds on a number of projects that form part of the council's Tree Chichester District scheme, which has utilised funding from HM Treasury's Shared Outcomes Fund to test different ways of increasing tree cover in rural and urban areas. Since the Tree Chichester District scheme was launched in January 2021, nearly 25,000 trees have been planted, or allocated for planting, across the district through 175 individual projects.


Councillor Penny Plant, Cabinet Member for the Environment and Chichester Contract Services at Chichester District Council, says: "It's been fantastic to have been able to support so many organisations and landowners with their tree planting projects, which is helping to increase tree cover across the district and boost our local environment.

"Some of the projects that we've funded include the planting of new community orchards — these are collections of fruit trees grown in public spaces and shared by residents. One has been planted in Selsey by the Selsey Community Forum — the Hidden Garden — and another by Hyde Housing in Kingsham. A further orchard has been planted in Chichester by the East Broyle Residents' Association, and we're also pleased to have been able to plant some fruit trees on the site of our short-stay accommodation, which supports those facing homelessness.


"We've also funded the enhancement of Manhood Wildlife & Heritage Group's community tree nursery in West Wittering. This money has paid for a new raised bed, which will help to expand the nursery. In Selsey, we have helped to fund the development of a completely new community tree nursery, and work is currently underway. The trees planted in these nurseries will be nurtured and grown until they are ready to be replanted in the local community.


"Funding was also allocated to private landowners to plant trees in areas such as Loxwood and Lavant. As part of this, work has been undertaken to enhance hedgerows, which provide important wildlife corridors for a number of different species."


Sarah Parker, Property Manager at Fishbourne Roman Palace, says: "For 2,000 years, the Palace has occupied a prime position between Chichester Harbour and the South Downs. The site is still an important nature corridor, and — through this scheme — we're able to provide trees to support local wildlife and the wider biodiversity of the area.


"We are thrilled that this funding has enabled community engagement as part of our wider ongoing community programme, and it was wonderful that pupils and staff from Fishbourne Primary School were able to help our Head Gardener, Simon, plant the community orchard. Celebrating the biodiversity within our 12-acre site is very special to us. Our thanks go to Chichester District Council, The Tree Council, Defra, and Natural England for making it all possible."


Paul Sadler from the Selsey Community Forum says: "It has been great to be supported by this funding. We have been able to plant 14 new fruit trees at The Hidden Garden, a community food growing project in Selsey. These have included Apples, Pears, Plums, a Medlar, and a Quince. All of these will hopefully benefit the many users of our garden, both people and wildlife! The fruit produced in future years will be distributed to people of all ages in our community and will hopefully inspire more people to grow fruit trees in their gardens."

By the end of March this year, the grant funding will have supported the planting of 4,000 new trees throughout the district. This is in addition to nearly 8,000 trees allocated through the successful subsidised tree scheme, which was open to residents, community groups, schools, parish councils, charities, businesses, landowners, and tenant farmers.

The council has also planted a new mini urban forest in Hambrook in collaboration with the parish council, using funds from The Tree Council. This is the fifth mini urban forest to be delivered through the Tree Chichester District scheme. A mini urban forest provides dense cover of native trees in a smaller area to help boost biodiversity.

Penny adds: "While increasing tree cover is important, we would also encourage people to protect and nurture existing mature trees that are safe and healthy. Trees are a precious natural asset and, as a natural carbon sink, are a vital part of the fight against climate change.

"As a council, we are able to look at placing a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) on mature trees if they meet a certain criteria — for example, if they are under perceived threat of being felled or at risk of being poorly pruned, and if they are healthy and offer a certain level of public benefit. The order protects a tree, or trees within a particular area, group or woodland. If you think a tree should be protected by a TPO in your community, you can request this via our website."


People can find more information about the Tree Chichester District scheme  and can contact the council's dedicated Tree Project Officer by emailing or calling 01243 521161.


The scheme is a key part of the council's work to protect and enhance the local environment and is an integral part of its Climate Emergency Action Plan.


Date of release: 13 March 2023                                                               

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