News release from 01/09/2021

Free trees offer to parishes doubled

Free trees offer to parishes doubled

An offer of free trees to South Cambridgeshire’s villages is being doubled – in line with the District Council’s strategy to Double Nature.

Last year (2020) every parish council in the district was offered three free trees to encourage more planting. This year, parishes are being invited to apply for six free trees. With trees absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere, they play a key role in helping to combat climate change.

A total of 54 parish councils took up the offer of three free trees last year as part of South Cambridgeshire District Council’s efforts to increase tree canopy cover. This year, they will be offered a choice of six native trees which can be either pot grown or bare rooted. The Council is currently procuring a supplier and that supplier will then deliver trees direct to parish councils.

Parish councils can now apply for a voucher for their six free trees at and the deadline to apply for them is Thursday 30 September 2021.

Council Leader Cllr Bridget Smith said: “It was terrific to see communities across South Cambridgeshire getting involved in more tree planting last year as a direct result of our three free trees scheme. This year we want to do even more; not least because six free trees is easier to say than three free trees! But on a serious note, we know that South Cambridgeshire has well below average tree cover and relatively little nature-rich land. Through our continuing plans to Double Nature, we want to change this. Although we are again only talking about a relatively small number of trees for every parish, this is about encouraging wider planting schemes and generating interest amongst communities in trees. We had a lovely morning last year at Fulbourn Recreation Ground, joined by local schoolchildren, who helped us plant the first trees as part of this scheme; one of the children had never planted a tree before. So, anything we can do to nurture an interest in nature and recognition of the importance of trees is time and money well spent.”

Along with around 2,000 local councils across the world, South Cambridgeshire District Council has declared a climate and ecological emergency. Its business plan priority ‘being green to our core’ was commended earlier this year as being “exemplary” as part of the 2021 iESE Public Sector Transformation Awards.

In May 2020, the district’s first Zero Carbon Strategy was adopted, to lead the transition to low carbon living across South Cambridgeshire. Then, in February 2021, District Councillors adopted South Cambridgeshire’s first Doubling Nature Strategy [PDF, 3MB], setting out an approach to increasing wildlife-rich habitats and the tree canopy and improving access to green spaces.