Senior councillors have approved new targets to increase tree cover in the Leeds district from 17% to 33% over the next 30 years.
The White Rose Forest Strategy for Leeds will improve the quality, quantity and access of woodlands across the city – ensuring that no household in Leeds is further than 500m from wooded spaces by 2050. Tree planting will improve the health and wellbeing of residents as well as reduce flood risk, support wildlife and absorb carbon.
The council will lead by example planting 5.8million trees over the next 25 years on public land as part of the Woodland Creation Scheme. The White Rose Forest strategy for Leeds will go even further by planning and planting trees on private land, in partnership with local organisations and communities. The strategy will see Leeds’ tree planting target increased to 1500 hectares by 2030 – equivalent to 2,100 football pitches. This will offset approximately 26,000 tonnes of carbon emissions.
To make this ambition a reality, the council will work with landowners, institutions, businesses, communities and volunteers as well as the White Rose Forest partnership – a local authority-based joint venture working to increase tree cover across North and West Yorkshire.
Businesses and institutions wishing to contribute to the White Rose Forest will be able to provide land, sponsorship, or value-in-kind donations that help make the forest possible while improving the lives of neighbouring communities.
Councillor Lisa Mulherin, Leeds City Council’s executive member for climate change, transport and sustainable development said:
“Many of us have valued local woodlands more than ever this year and there’s never been a better time to create more of them. Planting new woodlands will have a huge benefit to the health and wellbeing of residents, now and in the years to come.
“Climate change presents us with unprecedented challenges and tree planting will offer residents and organisations the chance to lead by example. As Leeds residents know their localities best, we will encourage residents to help bring the White Rose Forest to their community by identifying areas suitable for planting and volunteering time to plant and maintain trees.
“We can’t plant our way out of a climate emergency—but delivering this strategy successfully will enable Leeds to become a carbon neutral city quicker than not delivering it. That time makes a difference.”
The White Rose Forest is the community forest for West and North Yorkshire and part of the Northern Forest – an ambitious plan to plant 50 million trees by 2042 across the north of England. www.whiteroseforest.org
Businesses, institutions and landowners that would like to support the White Rose Forest in Leeds can contact WRF@leeds.gov.uk
Residents, communities and organisations can volunteer to plant trees as part of the Woodland Creation Scheme. Find out more on our website: www.leeds.gov.uk