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News release from: 22/11/2022

Free trees for a cleaner, greener South Cambridgeshire

Free trees for a cleaner, greener South Cambridgeshire

Trees are being offered to parish councils across the district to help provide homes and food for wildlife and combat climate change.

The Six Free Trees campaign is into its third year and has seen 390 trees planted across South Cambridgeshire since it was launched in 2019.

The campaign encourages tree planting by promoting its many benefits and is one of a range of initiatives by South Cambridgeshire District Council which supports its ambitions to double nature and get the district to net zero by 2050.

Parish Councils have until 21 December 2022 to apply for six free trees which will be delivered to them from 30 January 2023.

Trees can be chosen from a list of native varieties including field maple, alder, silver birch, hornbeam, hawthorn, beech, wild cherry, oak, rowan and crabapple. Bio-based and compostable guards, stakes and ties will also be supplied.

The Leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council, Cllr Bridget Smith, said: “The project has been a huge success in promoting a cleaner, greener district and also making our landscape more beautiful. With trees absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere, they play a key role in helping to combat climate change.

“South Cambridgeshire has well below average tree cover and relatively little nature-rich land. Through our continuing plans to Double Nature, we want to address this. It may only seem a relatively small number of trees for every parish, but this is about encouraging wider planting schemes and generating interest in trees among our communities. Anything we can do to nurture an interest in nature and a recognition of the importance of trees is time and money well spent.”

Every parish council in the district is offered six free trees, in exchange for planting them on parish council or school land. This could also fund one larger pot-grown tree, if more suitable, for the preferred location. Free delivery to a chosen location is included.

By working with Parish Councils, the scheme ensures that saplings are looked after for their lifetime. A total of 58 parish councils took up the offer of six free trees last year as part of the District Council’s efforts to increase tree canopy cover.

The Council’s Tree Warden network, coordinated by the Tree Council, fully support the Six Free Trees scheme and provide up-to-date information on local trees and current tree issues. For more information go to the District Council’s Tree Warden webpage.

Along with around 2,000 local councils across the world, South Cambridgeshire District Council has declared a climate and ecological emergency. Its business plan lists ‘being green to our core’ as a priority and in 2021 District Councillors adopted the District’s first Doubling Nature Strategy, setting out an approach to increasing wildlife-rich habitats and the tree canopy and improving access to green spaces.