National Tree Week sees councils work together to tackle biodiversity loss

Parish tree planting scheme, Cllr Fleming

Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils are working with town and parish councils across their districts this National Tree Week to plant nearly 5,000 trees and hedgerow plants, to help tackle biodiversity loss.

With tree planting season in full swing, nearly 300 locally sourced trees and over 4,600 hedgerow plants are being planted across Babergh and Mid Suffolk, thanks to a new local tree planting scheme launched in 2020.

The scheme forms part of the councils’ Biodiversity Action Plan, aiming to protect and strengthen the districts’ plant and wildlife for generations to come.

Last year, the councils put out a call to their towns and parishes to apply for free trees and hedgerow plants to plant on their own publicly accessible land. 

More than 20 successful applications were received, with some parishes applying to carry out more than one planting project. The largest projects include Coddenham, Monk Soham and Bedfield, Long Melford and Great Bricett.

The trees and plants, as well as stakes, guards and planting advice have been provided by the district councils. However, the town and parish councils will be responsible for maintaining the trees and hedges.

Cllr Elisabeth Malvisi, Babergh District Council’s cabinet member for climate change, biodiversity, and sustainable transport, said: “Increasing the number of trees across our district is a vital part of tackling biodiversity loss and achieving the aims of our Biodiversity Action Plan. But, the council can’t increase it to the levels we need on our own. This is why we’re supporting our town and parish councils to work with us to ensure Babergh’s environment remains a place people are proud to live and work in for generations to come.”

Cllr Elisabeth Malvisi

Cllr Jessica Fleming, Mid Suffolk District Council’s cabinet member for environment, said:

“This scheme is an important building block in the work already underway to increase the number of trees and plant life in Mid Suffolk. Upping our tree coverage across the district is an important part of our Biodiversity Action Plan, and we hope that by working with our towns and parishes we can have an even greater positive impact on the environment for our residents.

“We’d love to see even more parishes coming forward with their projects next year – big or small – to make Mid Suffolk a greener place we’re all proud to call home.”

The scheme is due to reopen for applications for 2022 planting schemes in the New Year. Guidance around eligibility and how to apply will be sent out to all town and parish councils and posted on the councils’ website.

It builds on steps already taken by the councils to increase tree coverage in their patch, including:

The councils continue to engage with local town and parish councils to establish the most appropriate locations to plant wildflower meadows across the districts.

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