District Dispatch - 31 October 2023
As we move into November and the start of the tree planting season, I'm really pleased to tell you that our 'Tree Chichester District' scheme is being extended.
This will enable us to build on the huge amount of work that has been done to successfully boost tree health and numbers outside of woodland areas within our district.
The scheme will benefit from a £120,000 funding boost and is thanks to the Government's Shared Outcomes Fund Trees Outside Woodland programme, which is delivered in partnership with DEFRA, The Tree Council, Natural England, and five local authorities, including our own.
The new funding means that we can continue researching ways to increase tree cover in rural and urban areas over the next two years. This will include the launch of a new targeted scheme that will incentivise planting in areas where new trees and hedgerows could help improve habitat connectivity, allowing different species to move and migrate for food and to breed, as well as supporting environmental resilience.
As part of this scheme, we're currently developing an interactive map, which will be made available so that landowners can see if they fall within one of these targeted areas. If so, they can then apply to us to find out if they are eligible for funding to plant trees and hedgerows on their land.
We will also be progressing two existing initiatives, which look to support tree planting in urban areas and on farmland. In addition, we'll be supporting The Orchard Project — a national charity — who will be conducting 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 on private land — I'd encourage you to contact the council's dedicated Tree Project Officer who can offer advice, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01243 521161. You can also visit our website to find out more about the Tree Chichester District scheme.
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. It has benefited our district in so many ways, including improving biodiversity, enhancing the local landscape for community enjoyment, and boosting carbon storage.
Up until the end of the 2022 planting season, we ran a subsidised tree scheme — which was open to residents, community groups, schools, parish councils, charities, businesses, landowners, and tenant farmers — through which nearly 7,500 trees were allocated. More recently, we supported 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 scheme is also 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 reduce their footprints.
You can find information about the work the council is doing to help combat climate change through our climate change section. In this section of our website, you can also find details about a range of grant schemes that could help you improve the energy efficiency of your home, cut your carbon footprint, and reduce your bills.
Cllr Jonathan Brown
Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environmental Strategy at Chichester District Council