Help plant the Forest for Cornwall and fight climate change

Residents, community groups, businesses and schools are being invited to get involved in planting Cornwall Council’s flagship climate emergency project the Forest for Cornwall.

The ambitious programme to cover 8,000 hectares of land across Cornwall with carbon-absorbing woodlands and forests will be officially launched next month during National Tree Week.

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The event will be supported by the Woodland Trust, as part of its nationwide Big Climate Fightback campaign, and other partners.

It will mark the start of the first large-scale project under the Council’s trailblazing Carbon Neutral Cornwall programme in response to the climate emergency and to lead Cornwall towards the goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.

The Forest for Cornwall will significantly increase the number of trees across multiple locations such as woods, parks, farmland, towns, villages and gardens over a decade.

Once completed, it aims to extend canopy cover over an additional 2% of Cornwall’s total land area and capture 38,000 tons of carbon dioxide a year, representing 1% of Cornwall’s current greenhouse gas emissions.

As well as several large areas of woodland and forests on public and private land, there will be many smaller copses and individual trees, with connecting corridors in the form of hedgerows, and trees along rivers, trails, cycle routes and in urban streets.

The programme will also strengthen the protection of existing trees, woodlands and hedges.

Together with the University of Exeter and Environmental Record Centre for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, the Council is mapping Cornwall to identify areas where there is greatest potential for growing woodlands and hedges and establishing an accurate baseline of current canopy cover.

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.

Councillor Edwina Hannaford, Cornwall’s Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Neighbourhoods, said: “We are at the start of our journey to create the Forest the Cornwall and we are acting faster than the Government and other local authorities in putting our plans to tackle climate change into action.

“But we need all our residents’ help in driving this vital project forward. Whether you are a community group keen to plant trees for the Forest for Cornwall; a town or parish council or scout group wanting to increase tree cover in and around your premises; or a residents association with ideas for more street trees to enhance your local area and improve air quality - we want to hear from you.

“We would encourage as many of you as possible to get involved with your local communities in planning your own tree planting events and I want to thank everyone who is already taking positive climate change action.”

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.

Over recent years, Cornwall Council has already been working with partners to increase canopy cover, for example through the award-winning Green Infrastructrure for Growth Making Space for Nature ERDF-funded programme and Keyn Glas, the £10 million Highways England scheme to create new habitats and woodlands on the A30 corridor.

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  

The Woodland Trust is encouraging people to join their mass planting campaign, the Big Climate Fightback by pledging to plant a tree. The Trust also offers ‘free tree’ schemes for schools and communities and support for landowners to plant trees.

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 are part of the Big Climate Fightback, the UK’s largest ever mass planting campaign, where we aim to get one million people to pledge to plant a tree, to fight climate change and provide real benefits for people and wildlife.

“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.”

To find out more about Forest for Cornwall email forestforcornwall@cornwall.gov.uk 

More information about Carbon Neutral Cornwall is available on our Climate emergency web page

 

Story posted 17 October 2019