Funding supports efforts to increase tree planting and create green jobs in borough

Tree planting Hebden Bridge

A programme of tree and hedgerow planting across 30 hectares will soon be taking place in Calderdale, with the Council awarded funding from the new Woodland Creation Accelerator Fund.

Calderdale has been awarded over £55,000 from the fund, which is being delivered by the Forestry Commission in partnership with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

The money will allow the Council to kickstart tree planting activity and boost access to nature, with a dedicated member of staff working to support schemes in locations across the borough.

Over two years, 200 street trees will be planted, with work taking place to develop further planting opportunities and identify additional funding. The programme will also involve working closely with local community groups, schools, volunteers and Friends groups to deliver planting opportunities for adults and children.

The programme forms part of the Council’s commitment to plant more trees around the borough on Council land, with additional work taking place with landowners to encourage planting on privately owned sites. It is also part of the Calderdale Climate Action Plan, which highlights the importance of tree planting and ensuring that the right trees are planted in the right places to support the borough’s existing biodiversity.

The Council is also a partner of the White Rose Forest – one of 10 community forests across England with the aim of increasing the involvement and connection of local communities with the planning, planting and management of trees and woodland in North and West Yorkshire.

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Resilience, Cllr Scott Patient, said:

“This funding will support our extensive climate action work and also contribute to the ongoing creation of green jobs in the borough, allowing us to recruit talented individuals with the professional expertise needed to drive tree planting and woodland creation activity at a local level.

“We also want to increase knowledge and local skills, and the programme will involve regular work with local groups, volunteers and young people to engage and educate about the importance of tree planting and other environmental work.”

The new Woodland Creation Accelerator Fund, delivered by the Forestry Commission in partnership with Defra, has offered a share of £9.8 million in funding to 57 local authorities across England to bring on board new staff and access the professional expertise needed to drive tree planting and woodland creation activity at a local level.

More than 100 new green jobs will be created across the country, with an emphasis on upskilling professionals from outside the forestry sector. This will help to expand the industry’s workforce, address skills shortages and help to grow the economy.

Richard Stanford, Chief Executive, Forestry Commission, said:    

“Local authorities have set out a range of inspiring and ambitious plans which equate to more than 10 million trees being planted on public land across England by 2025. The Woodland Creation Accelerator Fund will provide the support and resource needed to turn these aspirations into results, marking a significant step forward in our collective efforts to treble planting rates in England.   

“Growing both our treescapes and the forestry sector workforce through this fund demonstrates how protecting and restoring our natural world with trees can unlock environmental, economic and social benefits for everyone.”  

Hannah Bartram, Chief Executive Officer, Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport, said:

“The Woodland Creation Accelerator Fund is set to make a real difference, supporting local authorities to accelerate their tree and woodland planting plans and helping to tackle the climate change and biodiversity crises.

“The fund has been well received and demand has been high – it will support local authorities across the country, equipping them with the new staff, skills and expertise needed to drive tree planting and woodland creation commitments.”

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