Thousands of free trees were made available to groups and resident who could apply for bundles of ten or 20 trees that were tailored to suit the location and soil type of the area in which they plan to plant them.
Residents, community groups, schools, parish councils, charities, businesses, landowners, and tenant farmers applied for a total of more than 8,000 free trees from Chichester District Council (CDC) as part of a scheme to increase tree planting across the district.
The council received more than 100 applications.
CDC's 'Tree Chichester District' scheme, which was launched in January and funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). The council is one of five local authorities in England taking part in the £2.5m tree planting pilot, testing ways to increase tree cover in rural and urban areas.
Kingsham Primary School in Chichester was amongst those who successfully applied for free trees.
Dawn Tarrant, the school’s eco lead, says: “We want to plant more trees to extend our forest school area and involve the children in this venture.
"This will enhance the children’s learning opportunities and outdoor experiences. Additionally, as part of our eco schools effort, we want to plant trees to benefit the environment and encourage more wildlife to the site.”
Residents of the Sandpiper Walk estate in West Wittering applied for trees to plant on their estate.
A spokesperson for the residents said: “We want to further improve the habitats within the estate that were once abundant with many varieties of birds, including goldfinches, slow worms and hedgehogs.
"The wildlife is returning since the development has been built and the landscaping has established nicely.”
Fishbourne Roman Palace and Sussex Archaeological Society will also be receiving trees through the scheme: “The trees will add visual appeal for our visitors, as well as supporting and conserving our wildlife and engaging with our charity’s views on climate change. We are keen to encourage the natural habitat around the site as much as possible.”
Councillor Penny Plant, cabinet member for the environment and Chichester contract services at CDC, says: “We were overwhelmed by the response to the scheme having received applications for free trees from all over the district.
"The addition of these new trees will make such a difference to our local environment and we are looking forward to supporting the successful groups and individuals with their tree planting projects in the upcoming planting season.
“People will be collecting their trees from convenient locations in the district in December 2021, and January and February 2022.
"People will also receive guidance on how to plant and look after their trees and be given plastic-free biodegradable guards to protect the trees, if they need them, as they grow.
“At the beginning of the year, we announced the launch of our Tree Chichester District scheme. In addition to offering free trees for planting across the district, our tree project officer has also been working on a number of smaller projects which form part of the wider scheme.
"These include plans to plant three mini urban forests in public spaces in our district; funding planting of orchard trees; and funding tree planting on farms and private land.
“The combination of these different projects will have a positive impact on our communities and help us combat climate change in our area.
"Trees are a precious natural asset and, as a natural carbon sink, are a vital part of the fight against climate change. Trees also create habitats for wildlife, improve biodiversity, and aid wildlife corridors.
“This is just one of the ways in which we are working to protect and enhance our local environment. Last year, we produced a Climate Emergency Action Plan, which sets out a carbon reduction target of 10 per cent year–on-year until 2025 for the Chichester District.
"The plan also outlines the steps that the council is taking to cut emissions within the work that it does, and to improve the energy efficiency of council buildings and to reduce emissions from its vehicles. You can find out more about this work at www.chichester.gov.uk/climatechange.”
People can find more information about the council’s Tree Chichester District scheme and how they can access funding for trees, at www.chichester.gov.uk/treescheme, or by emailing our Tree Project Officer at [email protected]