12 September 2019
Shrewsbury and North Shropshire Green Party are delighted that Oswestry Town Council unanimously passed a motion on 11 September, proposed by Councillor Olly Rose, to aspire to planting a tree per head of population in the Oswestry area (circa 17,000 ) over the next 3 planting seasons. We are hoping other councils will make their own similar commitments.
After the meeting Councillor Rose stated:- "I’m very pleased that our council is taking the step to get a good start on tree planting to work towards our commitment to tackle climate change. The council has got under way with a number of measures already, for example we are near to finalising plans for EV car charging points and have recently moved to a green energy tariff, but trees take a long time to grow to reach their potential of removing CO2 from the environment as well as other pollutants, providing shelter to help keep us cool as temperatures rise and hosting many diverse kinds of insects, so they are great for biodiversity too. We now need to work with other councils as well as members of the community and business sector to create a planting plan as soon as we can."
There was a good turnout from members of the local Extinction Rebellion group at the meeting who read out a letter encouraging councillors to make a start with tree planting urgently.
Councillors will be aware of the increasing number of reports stressing the importance of tree planting in the amelioration of climate change. The Woodland Trust proposes that we need a new tree per head of the UK population planted per year, EVERY year for the next 30 years, and if other carbon reduction targets are not met ,the rate of planting would need to be greater still.
Although National Government will need to be responsible for delivering policies to enable this to happen quickly, local councils need to do their part.
Tree-planting in England actually fell well short of government targets despite promises to restore and plant new woodland across the country to combat the climate change crisis. Only 3,507 acres of trees were planted in England in the year to March 2019, an over 70% shortfall on government targets. The tree cover remains at 10% of land.
However there are a number of grants that can be applied for both urban and rural tree planting e.g. The Urban Tree Planting fund which we can put forward our expression of interest now, ready for the next application date.
Many councils are commiting to tree planting schedules e.g.Cornwall Council has committed to planting an 8,000 hectare forest for example, at a cost of up to £30,000,000. They plan to offer the possibility of businesses purchasing carbon offsets .Rugby is planting 25,000 trees partly using a grant from Natural England . Locally, Sellatyn and Gobowen parish councils have committed to planting 100 trees so far.
I propose that this council has the aim and aspiration to plant a tree per head of our population circa 17,000 by the latest 21/22 planting season. Giving us 3 planting years. As trees are best planted between October and April it is important that this council makes its commitment now to get a good start on planting and commits to substantial progress quickly. This motion makes 7 proposals to work towards this goal.