Brighouse tree planting project takes root

Tree planting at Whinney Hill Park

As part of events to celebrate National Tree Week, Calderdale Council is working in partnership with local Rotary Clubs and The Woodland Trust to plant a variety of tree species in Whinney Hill Park in Brighouse.

National Tree Week takes place in the first week of December to mark the start of the winter planting season. Over the last week, Calderdale Council’s Countryside team has been busy preparing the ground at Whinney Hill Park for planting.

Work has now begun, with the planting of nearly 800 trees, with species including silver birch, oak, bird cherry, alder, grey willow, malus sylvestris, hawthorn, holly, rowan, elder and hazel. The woodland is an extension to the tree cover in the park which received funding last year from The Urban Tree Fund.

Calderdale Rotary Clubs in Brighouse, Elland, Halifax, Halifax Calder, Hebden Bridge, Sowerby Bridge and Denby Dale in Kirklees, took part in the planting, joining officers from the Council and representatives from The Woodland Trust.

The Rotary Clubs decided to get involved in a tree planting project after reading a recent report by The Woodland Trust which stated that whilst overall tree cover is increasing in England, associated wildlife is in decline due in part to the fact that a lot of the trees that have been planted in the last 100 years haven’t been native species.

This combined with climate change, tree diseases such as Phytophthora and Ash Dieback, and habitat loss, has had a massive impact on a variety of species which can be partly addressed by the planting of new woodland with a good variety of native species.

Stephen Ellis, Rotary District President for 2021-22 commented:

“Rotary in Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire are committed to improving the environment by working with local communities to plant woodland across the country.”

The benefits of tree planting are well documented; it can slow down the flow of water during heavy rain, capture carbon, contribute to carbon sequestration, lower the temperature in the area around the tree, capture air pollutants and provide a habitat for birds, mammals, and invertebrates.

Calderdale Council is committed to planting more trees around the borough on Council land or working with landowners to encourage planting on privately owned sites. This work will help the Council meet its targets for the borough to be carbon neutral by 2038 at the latest, with significant progress by 2030.

The Council is also a partner of the White Rose Forest – one of 10 community forests across England with the aim of 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 is a fantastic community-led project that illustrates how we can all help tackle climate change and enhance our green spaces at the same time. The Brighouse planting also supports the National Tree Week campaign to plant thousands of trees across the country and mark the start of the winter planting season.

“Tree planting not only contributes towards achieving our carbon neutral targets, but also supports positive wellbeing and forms a key part of natural flood management work.

“In line with the White Rose Forest Action plan targets, we’re planning to increase local tree canopy cover by more than a third. This is great news for residents across the borough and for the wildlife that will benefit too!”