£228,000 for tree planting, hedgerow restoration and verges

The county is to see a significant financial investment for tree-planting, restoring hedgerows and improving roadside verges for wildlife.

£228,000 from the Suffolk 2020 Fund will enable Suffolk County Council to enhance its work to protect and encourage biodiversity in the county. This will be done through new schemes whilst also building on existing work.

Working with The Woodland Trust, Suffolk Tree Wardens, landowners and county farm tenants, the funding will support the planting of around 100,000 trees, along with replanting hedgerows, in suitable locations across Suffolk over the next 18 months.

The funding will also help establish around 10 community tree nurseries which will support more planting in years to come. Local volunteers will be supported to collect seeds, set up nursery beds and grow trees in their communities.

The investment will also be used to trial better ways to manage roadside verges for wildlife. This will explore the use of new technology and cutting techniques as well as developing new partnerships with parishes and landowners.

It will help expand the existing Roadside Nature Reserve network managed by the council with the help of volunteers, seeing a 25% increase in the overall length of verges managed for wildlife.

Councillor Richard Rout, Cabinet Member for Environment and Public Protection at Suffolk County Council, said: “This funding will boost the council’s existing work to protect Suffolk’s environment and wildlife. Increased tree planting will allow us to offset carbon emissions, though we are continuing to work to eliminate the council’s emissions where possible, as part of our commitment to our climate emergency declaration.

“But this is much more than just planting trees and walking away. We are setting up the support needed to allow trees, hedgerows and verges to thrive for years to come, including in urban areas. We are committed to a ‘right tree, right place’ policy and to working with others. This will be achieved through a new Suffolk Tree Partnership, involving many others across Suffolk, to support local communities and landowners to help them manage and increase tree cover.

“We will also work with others to develop a ‘healing wood’ initiative as a way of recognising the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on our communities. This will see the creation of woodlands where people can quietly reflect and enjoy nature.

“I’m excited that this funding from the Suffolk 2020 Fund will complement the motion I proposed to the council in July, which recognised the huge value of trees to Suffolk.”

The council announced the Suffolk 2020 Fund earlier this year. It is a £3m fund for the council’s own projects to bid into, which must help address its climate emergency declaration and improve Suffolk for all residents in years to come.

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