Six million trees to be planted in Leeds to help tackle climate change

Almost six million trees will be planted in Leeds in the next 25 years as part of plans to make the city carbon neutral by 2030.

By Rebecca Marano
Friday, 3rd July 2020, 11:44 am

Leeds Council announced the new large scale tree planting initiative as part of the city's plans to combat climate change.

Climate change, or global warming, is the process of our planet heating up - which leads to rising sea levels, ice melting faster, extreme weather and changes in plant blooming times.

The first saplings will be planted this winter, with the woodland creation programme set to see 5.8 million trees planted across the city in the next two decades.

Councillor Lisa Mulherin and Councillor Mohammed Rafique visit a tree they planted two years ago on King Alfred's Field. Photo provided by Leeds City Council.

In order to have the space to plant the trees, 50 hectares of land will be selected each year for woodland creation.

More than 100 hectares of publicly owned land has already been identified as suitable.

Children, schools and families will be encouraged to get involved with the tree planting process.

Residents can collect seeds of trees from their local parks and woodlands to be grown into saplings at The Arium, the council’s parks nursery.

Almost six million trees will be planted in Leeds in the next 25 years as part of plans to make the city carbon neutral by 2030. Pictured autumn trees in Horsforth.

These saplings will then be planted to grow into trees of local provenance in the city’s new woodlands.

Trees planted as part of this project will also be counted towards the White Rose Forest, a joint local authority venture to double tree cover across the Leeds City Region by 2050.

Councillor Mohammed Rafique, Leeds City Council’s executive member for environment and active lifestyles, said: "It is great to see such a project coming to fruition.

"When we declared the climate emergency we knew that we had to be inventive and ambitious in what we wanted to achieve, and the plan to plant over five million trees in Leeds is about as ambitious as I could have imagined.”

"There will be great opportunities for our children and young people to learn about the importance of addressing climate change, the benefits of growing and planting trees and helping to increase biodiversity.

"People of all ages will be able to get involved in planting trees with us – this will be a real team Leeds effort."

Councillor Lisa Mulherin, Leeds City Council’s executive member for climate change, transport and sustainable development, said: "As a city, we are committed to leading by example in combating climate change, setting out last year on a mission to make Leeds carbon neutral by 2030.

"We have already made strides towards this, from having the largest electric vehicle fleet in the country, switching our electricity supply to wind-powered renewable electricity, and the work we are doing to support active travel, with extensive tree planting a key part of our plans.”

“I am therefore thrilled to see the woodland creation initiative launched today, which marks the beginning of a long-term commitment to the local environment and biodiversity of our city.”

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