An additional 1,250 hectares of woodland will be created over 25 years. New woodland sites will be formed throughout the city on council owned land.
To mark the beginning of National Tree Week, Leeds City Council launched their winter tree planting season over the weekend with a tree planting event held in Harehills Park. The event saw volunteers from the local area and across the city join the council’s experienced park rangers and Councillor Salma Arif (Leeds City Council’s executive member for public health and lifestyles), roll up their sleeves and get to work planting the first of 4,000 new saplings in the park in a bid to create fantastic future woodland and greenery for all to enjoy.
All the saplings planted were grown from seed at Leeds City Council’s plant nursery, The Arium, having been harvested by residents and school children across the city. In 2019, Leeds City Council announced its ambition to be carbon neutral by 2030 and last year, the Woodland Creation scheme was launched which will see 5.8million trees planted over the next 25 years. Planting more trees will help capture carbon, reduce co2, increase biodiversity and improve the health and wellbeing of the people of Leeds for generations to come. It will also help the council’s ambition to tackle the climate emergency.
People of all ages are now being encouraged to get involved with the tree planting initiative, which takes place between November and February. Anyone who would like to get involved can register their interest to volunteer by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Councillor Salma Arif, Leeds City Council executive member for public health and active lifestyles said:
“We are absolutely committed to bringing more greenery and woodland to our city and suburban areas and I am looking forward to continuing work with our volunteers and park rangers to help out with the planting initiative which will eventually see the introduction of millions more trees in our city. I would encourage people across the city of all ages and capabilities to get involved with the volunteering initiative and help improve our parks and suburbs for people for years to come.”
Councillor Helen Hayden, Leeds City Council executive member for infrastructure and climate said:
“There are a number of benefits which tree planting provides, not only helping to reduce carbon and improve air quality but also major holistic benefits such as improvements to people’s health and wellbeing and providing space for birds to nest, insects to live and bees to pollinate. I am really looking forward to keeping up to date with the progress of the Woodland Creation initiative and would echo the words of Councillor Arif encouraging people to get involved with the volunteering initiative.”
National Tree Week is the UK’s biggest annual tree celebration. It was originally called Plant A Tree in ‘73, and started in 1973 in response to Dutch Elm Disease – a tree disease that stops them from getting water properly. It’s all about getting lots of communities to do more to help their local environment by planting as many trees as they can.
Trees are a very important part of our ecosystem. They take in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and put out oxygen. They help keep our air clean which is vital to keep climate change under control. Nutrients in the soil come from trees, which helps lots of other plants grow. Hundreds of kinds of wildlife, like birds, bugs, and squirrels as well as other kinds of plants all live in or on trees. Without them, countless animals would lose their homes or sources of food.
The main focus of National Tree Week is planting more trees, and there’s a lot you can do both in school and in your community. If you have space, why not plant some of your own trees together? Getting to have a direct hand in planting trees is a great learning opportunity and a lasting memory.
Further information can be found on www.theariumleeds.co.uk