Fenland set to get leafy facelift with £48,500 grant for new trees

Funding to plant 4,000 smaller trees and 80 larger ones in much-needed areas of Fenland has been secured by Fenland District Council.

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Following a successful bid to the Forestry Commission's Local Authorities Treescapes Fund, the Council has been awarded £48,570 to plant the new trees and cover the cost of their aftercare for the next three years.

The district currently has just 2.3 per cent tree cover compared to 16 per cent nationally, with its rich and plentiful agriculture land meaning that tree distribution is sparse.

But establishing more trees in open spaces, riverbanks, besides roads and footpaths and in disused and vacant community spaces, will provide the greatest levels of benefit to the ecosystem and society, such as carbon absorption, flood protection and support for biodiversity, as well as connecting fragmented habitats.

It will also help to address some of the expected tree loss due to Ash Dieback disease.

Cllr Peter Murphy, the Council's Portfolio Holder for the Environment, said: "We know how much our residents love green spaces in their communities so I'm delighted that our bid to the Local Authority Treescape Fund was successful and will allow us to plant trees across the district in the coming months.

"Tree planting not only helps us to improve nature on our land and improve air quality for residents, but it also has additional positive impacts on mental health and wellbeing."

The trees will be a combination of 4,000 smaller 'whips' and 80 larger 'standard' trees. 'Whips' are tree seedlings under a metre in height, which are typically planted in large numbers to grow into copses, hedgerows or woodlands over time, while 'standards' are larger trees often two to three metres high.

The Council will be discussing potential locations for planting with local town and parish councils.

The planting will be managed by the Council's open spaces team, with support from community volunteers and Tivoli, the Council's grounds maintenance contractor.

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