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News release from: 09/11/2023

Free trees for South Cambridgeshire towns and villages

Free trees for South Cambridgeshire towns and villages

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 fourth year and has seen more than 500 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 to support its ambitions to double nature and get the district to net zero carbon by 2050.

Parish Councils have until 22 December 2023 to apply for six free trees or one large potted tree, which will be delivered to them from 30 January 2024.

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

Oakington parish trees are plantedCllr Bridget Smith, Leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “The Six Free Trees project has been a great success in promoting a cleaner, greener district. Trees are one of our most simple yet powerful weapons in the fight against climate change.

"This is due to the ability of trees to absorb harmful CO2 from the atmosphere and lock it up like giant storage machines for decades, releasing clean oxygen instead through photosynthesis. Climate change is a huge and complex issue and, as individuals, we can sometimes feel helpless. But there is something we can do – and that's increase tree cover.

"South Cambridgeshire has below average tree cover and relatively little nature-rich land. So, by continuing our plans to double nature, we can address this. It may only seem a 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 144 trees were given to 49 parish councils 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
  • 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.
  • Find out more and apply for Six-Free Trees