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Tree planting project benefits from £120,000 funding boost

Chichester District Council's 'Tree Chichester District' scheme will benefit from a £120,000 funding boost to continue researching ways to increase tree cover in rural and urban areas over the next two years, with a particular focus on improving habitat connectivity across the district.

Tree Chichester District tree scheme logo

The funding has been made available by the Government's Shared Outcomes Fund to extend its Trees Outside Woodland programme, which is once again delivered in partnership with Defra — Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs — along with The Tree Council, Natural England, and five local authorities, including Chichester District Council. The programme is testing new ways to boost tree health and numbers outside of woodland areas, and the new funding will build on this work with a second phase of the project.

In a Full Council meeting today, councillors heard how the money will be used to build on previous, highly successful work within the Tree Chichester District scheme. The project will continue to test various methods, schemes, and incentives for planting trees outside of woodlands in both urban areas and throughout the rural landscape, including a new initiative to incentivise planting trees in specific areas across the district.

As part of this targeted planting scheme, an interactive map is being developed to highlight priority areas of the district where tree-planting interventions could help increase habitat connectivity and improve environmental resilience. The map will be publicly accessible so landowners can check whether they fall within the priority areas outlined on the map and then apply to see if they are eligible for funding to plant new trees or hedgerows on their land. The aim of this initiative is to test whether targeted planting improves the benefits to wildlife and local communities in comparison to non-targeted schemes. Interested parties that do not fall within priority areas are still encouraged to apply for the other schemes available.

"We're delighted to be able to extend this successful scheme, which benefits our district in so many ways, including improving biodiversity, enhancing the local landscape for community enjoyment and boosting carbon storage," says Councillor Jonathan Brown, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environmental Strategy at Chichester District Council. "Since the Tree Chichester District scheme was launched in January 2021, nearly 25,000 trees have been planted across the district through 175 individual projects.

"As part of this, nearly 7,500 trees were allocated through the popular subsidised tree scheme last year, which was open to residents, community groups, schools, parish councils, charities, businesses, landowners, and tenant farmers. Recently, we were also pleased to be able to support parish councils and local community groups with grant funding that helped develop seven community orchards in Selsey, Chichester, Fishbourne and Goodwood; two community tree nurseries in West Wittering and Selsey; and five new mini urban forests in Hambrook, East Broyle, Summersdale, East Beach Walk and Midhurst.

"The next stage of the project will help us build on this work and further explore the best ways to increase tree planting within our communities. The targeted planting scheme will be of huge benefit to our district as it seeks to better connect habitats, allowing different species to move and migrate for food and to breed.

"The continued funding will also enable us to progress two existing initiatives, which look to support tree planting in urban areas and on farmland. We will also be supporting The Orchard Project — a national charity — to conduct a research study that aims to identify what makes a community orchard successful, with a view to increasing the success rate of similar projects in the future.

"We'll be keeping people updated on all of these initiatives, but if you're interested in progressing a tree planting project — whether it's a community initiative or private land — I'd encourage you to contact the council's dedicated Tree Project Officer who can offer advice, by emailing or calling 01243 521161."

The Tree Chichester District scheme is an integral part of the council's Climate Emergency Action Plan. From launching a ground-breaking project that aims to safeguard and enhance strategic wildlife corridors, to introducing comprehensive carbon literacy training for councillors and staff to help them better address climate change within the council's work, the Climate Emergency Action Plan sets out over 60 actions aimed at reducing the council's carbon footprint and to encourage residents, businesses and organisations to join its approach.

Jonathan adds: "Much work has already been done to deliver and progress a range of major projects to help reduce emissions within the council's operations. These actions include introducing two new electric vehicles to our refuse collection fleet and improving the energy efficiency of both the Westgate Leisure Centre and the council's short stay homelessness accommodation. Even so, there is a great deal more to do and we are committed to working with partners and the wider community to do just this.

"The council accounts for less than 0.5% of the district's emissions and so we are working with residents and businesses to encourage and help them to do their bit to help us tackle the effects of climate change at a local level too. There are steps — big and small — that everyone can take to make a difference and I would encourage as many people as possible to participate in projects that help care for our environment."

For more information about the work the council is doing to help combat climate change, visit the climate change webpage. On this page, residents can also find out how they can save money while helping the environment.

People can find more information about the Tree Chichester District scheme on the tree scheme webpage


Date of Release: 26 September 2023                                                            

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