Arun will plant at least 33,000 trees over next decade

A ten-year tree planting strategy will see the council plant more than 33,000 trees on its land.

Arun District Council has a ten-year strategy to plant trees on its own land

Work started on the strategy in December 2020 and it was finally approved during Arun District Council’s environment committee (formerly the environment and neighbourhood services committee) on Wednesday (November 17).

Committee members unanimously welcomed and backed the strategy, including Green councillor Isabel Thurston (Barnham).

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How many trees will be planted and where?

Over the next ten years, the council wants to plant a minimum of 33,000 saplings and 500 more mature trees.

More than 80 sites have been identified for the new trees and 90 per cent will be native species.

It is estimated that just under 2,000 tonnes of carbon could be sequestered in total.

Around £8,000 a year has been set aside for the strategy.

It is also hoped that community groups will also be able to get involved.

Groups are welcome to identify locations for new trees on council land and use the council’s procurement processes to buy saplings – as long as they can fund them – say officers.

This could take place as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy project which recognises the monarch’s ‘exceptional service’ across 70 years through mass community tree planting.

How will trees be cared for?

Matt Stanley (LDem, Marine) wanted to know how many of the trees would survive going forward.

He said: “Clearly we just had a COP summit and I was quite surprised to hear information coming from there as to the amount of trees that don’t survive past the second year.

“Do we have any kind of aspirations as to just how many of those 33,000 will end up as mature trees?”

Under the new strategy, it is hoped that 95 per cent of trees will survive.

“There is very little point in planting trees if you don’t have a proactive after-care programme in place,” said council officers.

Officers reassured Mr Stanley that most care could be undertaken in-house by council tree specialists, grounds maintenance teams and existing contractors.

It is also hoped that selecting suitable locations for the trees will boost chances of survival.

According to the strategy, December and January are optimal for planting the trees so work could get underway almost immediately.

Planting may also take place between mid-November and mid-February.

Too many trees in one place?

Steve Goodheart (Arun Ind, Hotham) expressed concern about plans to plant 1,000 trees in West Park, Bognor Regis.

“I was horrified when I saw the amount of whips [saplings] you are suggesting can be part planted in West Park,” he said.

“West Park is one of the very few large green open spaces in the district where recreational activities can take place.

“As much as I am a supporter of planting trees, I believe that we can be much more creative and imaginative.”

Council officers said they were not going to ‘plant a forest in the middle of West Park’ and that planting would focus on ‘fringe areas’ so it does not interfere with events and recreation.

No trees for Pagham

David Huntley (Ind) wanted to know why there are no trees planned for Pagham ward, which he represents.

Officers said the council is responsible for ‘very little public open space’ in Pagham and this means there are few opportunities for planting.

The strategy document outlines where trees will be planted and how many there will be in each location