As part of a new £1.2M funding initiative through the Green Recovery Challenge Fund, environmental charity Trees for Cities will soon begin planting 55,000 trees across seven coastal towns and cities to support green jobs and provide a boost for nature recovery.
Following on closely from National Tree Week, the first planting phase of the Forgotten Places: Greening Coastal Towns and Cities initiative will take place in Portsmouth and Brighton this December with Bexhill, Great Yarmouth, Hull, Ramsgate and Stockton-On-Tees following suit in 2022.
This new urban tree planting initiative will focus on growing tree cover in coastal cities and towns that have low canopy cover to increase resilience against the effects of climate change. The project will support the participating local authorities deliver their greening and biodiversity strategies in response to the climate crisis.
In addition to enhancing green spaces and improving air quality, over 9,000 local residents will have the opportunity to undertake training to build their environmental knowledge and learn tree-related skills that are relevant towards the green sector. The project will also support over 40 full time green jobs/traineeships, with newly developed jobs ranging from tree-planting coordinators to ecologists, horticultural officers and many more environmental roles.
In order to develop their green skills, local residents, especially young people, can participate in a wide variety of opportunities, from learning how to plant urban trees to attending training courses to identify, care for and protect trees where they live. In line with this, residents in these coastal towns can now start claiming their free and exclusive Winter Tree Identification Guides to begin learning about the different species of urban trees in their areas.
David Elliott, Chief Executive of Trees for Cities, said: “We know that planting trees in cities has a hugely positive impact on people and our environment. This project represents a fantastic step towards rebalancing the UK’s canopy cover by prioritising some of our forgotten coastal towns and cities - tackling green inequality and deprivation for those more likely to face barriers to environmental justice.
Despite significant investment in tree planting programmes and the green economy, many places in coastal locations have been overlooked and run the risk of being further left behind. There is a strong correlation between low canopy cover (a measure of environmental deprivation) and social deprivation. This inequality means that people in these deprived areas have less opportunity to benefit from urban trees.
Coastal communities up and down the country are in need of a boost to resources to kick-start a new green economy. Many local authorities lack capacity/resources and are forced to manage risk rather than replace/increase stock. Trees for Cities has spearheaded the Forgotten Places: Greening Coastal Towns and Cities programme to pave the way for this green revolution in Bexhill, Brighton, Great Yarmouth, Hull, Portsmouth, Ramsgate and Stockton-On-Tees.
The funding forms part of the Government's Green Recovery Challenge Fund and was developed by Defra and its arm's-length bodies. The fund is being delivered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural England, the Environment Agency and Forestry Commission.
Trees for Cities is working with the Field Studies Council, Treeconomics, Forest Research, and local delivery partners. The project is also part of The Queen’s Green Canopy, a unique tree planting initiative created to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022. Local residents will be invited to get involved and “Plant a Tree for the Jubilee”.