Kirklees staff and volunteers have planted over 35,000 trees. It is part of the council’s wider aim to reduce carbon emissions and improve the borough’s natural environment.
25 Hectares of Trees Planted!
Groups of volunteers, residents and council employees have been planting trees since Autumn 2019. It has accumulated to 25 hectares of trees which is approximately the same as 35 football pitches!
Planting season for 2020/21 is coming to an end. This winter alone, 26,000 trees have been planted. That’s even with a limited team as volunteer support had been restricted due to COVID-19.
Each native and non-native tree species planted is a contribution to White Rose Forest. White Rose Forest is the community forest for West and North Yorkshire. It forms part of the larger Northern Forest that will stretch across Manchester and Yorkshire.
Types of trees planted include sycamore, sweet chestnut, oak, pine, and cherry varieties—all part of a plan and research for what is most sustainable for the new forest.
Carbon Neutral By 2038
This initiative is part of the council’s commitment to plant a significant number of trees over the next five years. The council identified an additional 64 hectares of council-owned land to transform into new woodland.
The final aim is to have a network of new woodlands across the region, which will improve local and regional biodiversity and benefit people with new natural spaces to enjoy.
The scheme of building new woodland is just one part of achieving the council’s vision for Kirklees – to be carbon neutral by 2038. Additionally, other methods include increasing electric vehicles.
There are numerous benefits to nature and having more trees in our local area. Research shows the health and wellbeing benefits of nature and trees. Moreover, they can also be a natural defence in managing flood risk and improving the local economy.
Lastly, it will benefit the UK as a whole. The UK has one of the lowest levels of woodland canopy cover in Europe, at just 13 per cent. The average cover in Yorkshire even lower.
A Valuable Community Resource
Councillor Paul Davies, Cabinet Member for Culture and Greener Kirklees, said:
“Planting trees is one of the best ways to help us in our commitment to tackle climate change as they lock in carbon, help prevent flooding, improve air quality and biodiversity, as well as boosting personal wellbeing.
“The 35,000 trees planted over the last year and a half will soon flourish and provide a valuable community resource for future generations.”
Councillor Naheed Mather, Cabinet Member for Environment, said:
“Every year, an area of woodland the size of the UK is lost, and in the past five years, this rate has accelerated. We are planting trees for the future, for our children and the generations that follow them.
“The great work done by the staff and volunteers across Kirklees to help grow the White Rose Forest will be a lasting improvement to our natural environment.”