First trees of 8,000-hectare Forest for Cornwall to be planted: Saltash, December 17

Cornwall Council’s flagship climate emergency project the Forest for Cornwall will be officially launched next week at a community planting day in Saltash.

The first 105 trees of the ambitious programme to cover 8,000 hectares of land across Cornwall with woodland, forest and other canopy cover will be planted at Tincombe, a Cornwall Council-owned community open space at Oaklands Drive, Saltash, on Tuesday, 17 December.

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Cornwall councillors Edwina Hannaford, Cabinet Member for climate change and neighbourhoods, and Rob Nolan, Cabinet Member for environment and public protection, will lead the planting.

They will be helped by residents, volunteers, schoolchildren, Saltash Town Council, the Woodland Trust, Cormac, Cornwall Council staff and a host of other partner organisations, charities and businesses who will work together on creating the Forest for Cornwall.

The celebratory planting marks the start of the ambitious Forest for Cornwall which will significantly increase the number of trees across woods, parks, farmland, towns, villages and gardens over a decade and form a key part of Cornwall Council’s plans to help Cornwall become carbon neutral by 2030.

Once completed, the programme aims to extend canopy cover over an additional 2% of Cornwall’s total land area and capture 1% of Cornwall’s current greenhouse gas emissions, working alongside other natural climate solutions to draw carbon from the atmosphere.

The Forest for Cornwall is Cornwall Council’s first, large-scale project to get under way as part of its Carbon Neutral Cornwall programme which was approved by Cabinet in July in response to the climate emergency.

Other key schemes are a Government-supported whole-house retrofit pilot to fit energy efficiency improvements to Cornwall Council homes; a new, climate change planning document to promote renewable energy including a commitment to power all new homes with alternative sources to gas; and a new decision-making framework to prioritise environmental and social benefits in all Council policies.

Cllr Hannaford said: “I want to thank all the volunteers of Saltash for joining forces with us to help plant the first site of the Forest for Cornwall and for sharing this historic moment in Cornwall’s fight to tackle climate change.

“Over the next decade we want to transform the landscapes of our countryside, towns and villages with a mosaic of woodland, forests, copses, orchards, hedgerows and street trees which will not only absorb carbon but enhance our residents’ living and community spaces and improve air quality.

“While we are acting faster than the Government and other local authorities in putting our plans to tackle climate change into action, we now need all our residents’ help in driving this vital project forward.

"We want to put the right tree in the right place and as a facilitator we will be matching residents, businesses, community groups and charities to trees, land, funds and volunteers who want to get involved in planting so we can create a ‘tree match-making service’ to harness everyone’s goodwill in contributing to the Forest for Cornwall.”

Cllr Nolan said: “We would encourage as many of you as possible to get in touch with us and tell us about any tree-planting projects so that we can count your trees on our new Forest for Cornwall Tree-ometer.

"You may want to get involved with your local communities in sourcing trees and planning your own tree planting events, for example if you are a town or parish council or community group wanting to increase tree cover in and around your premises or a residents’ association with ideas for more trees in your locality.

“This is the start of the Forest for Cornwall and a chance for everyone to take positive action and contribute to reducing the impacts of climate change while increasing spaces for nature in their local communities.”

The 105 saplings to be planted at Saltash will be a mixture of native trees donated by the Woodland Trust and non-native species supplied by Cornwall Council to ensure diversity and resilience to threats such as climate change and disease.


“With the Committee for Climate Change report showing that the Government needs to triple the amount tree planting across the UK, the Forest for Cornwall shows real commitment to tackling this issue head on.  The Woodland Trust is looking forward to working with the people of Cornwall to provide free trees to schools and communities and advice and support to landowners to get trees in the ground.”Ross Kennerley, Woodland Trust South West Regional Director, said: “The Woodland Trust is very excited to be working with Cornwall Council on this pioneering project and contributing some native broadleaf trees for the Forest for Cornwall.  These trees come on the back of the Trust’s mass planting campaign, the Big Climate Fightback, which saw hundreds of thousands of people plant trees across the UK to fight climate change and provide real benefits for people and wildlife.

The Mayor of Saltash Town Council Councillor Gloria Challen said: “Saltash Town Council welcomes the first 105 donated trees to be planted in the town of Saltash and as Mayor I am honoured to be part of the Forest for Cornwall project. 

“Saltash has a fantastic community and I am proud to hear that so many residents, volunteers and schoolchildren of our town are coming together on such an important day.  I thank you all for all that you do for our town.  I look forward to the day that together we can start to make a change to Cornwall becoming carbon neutral by 2030.”

The environment team from Cormac has prepared the ground at Tincombe in readiness for the first tree planting. They will be attending on the day to support everyone involved in planting the trees as well as supplying tools and equipment.

Dominic Bostock, Cormac Interim Managing Director, said: “We are proud to bring our environmental expertise to this first step towards helping plant the Forest for Cornwall.

“These freshly planted trees will grow into much needed forests and help to take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and tackle the climate crisis. This draws on our commitment to sustainability and we are pleased to be contributing to the Council’s target of becoming carbon neutral. We look forward to working closely with the Council and other partners to support further projects across Cornwall.”

Cornwall Council is working with the University of Exeter, Historic Environment Records and Environmental Record Centre for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly to help guide the Forest for Cornwall and to establish an accurate baseline of current canopy cover.

The first phase of the Forest for Cornwall from 2019 to 2021 will be core funded and coordinated by Cornwall Council and it will be delivered through partnerships and private sector projects.

It will involve partners such as the Local Nature Partnership, landowners, forestry sector, town and parish councils, environmental charities, the NHS, private utilities, local businesses, government bodies, schools, communities and individuals.

The Council is calling on community groups, landowners, town and parish councils, environmental charities, schools and individuals to get involved in the Forest for Cornwall and help fight climate change.

Other partnership projects which will contribute to the Forest for Cornwall targets this year include the award-winning Green Infrastructure for Growth Making Space for Nature ERDF-funded programme and Keyn Glas, the £10 million Highways England scheme to create new ‘green ribs’ of habitats and woodlands either side of the A30.

There are a number of ways to join or start a community project to contribute to the Forest for Cornwall.

The Council has joined forces with Crowdfunder to work with local groups to support ideas to increase nature in communities and help tackle the effects of climate change.

The Grow Nature Seed Fund supports small-scale projects that help create more space for nature in towns and villages.

Up to £1,000 is available for each eligible project and there is the opportunity to double this amount through Crowdfund Cornwall.

Any Cornwall-based and recognised ‘not for profit’ organisations are eligible to apply.

For details of the Seed Fund, please email Grow-Nature@cornwall.gov.uk.

More information on the Forest for Cornwall is at www.cornwall.gov.uk/forestforcornwall.

Story posted on 13 December, 2019