MORE than 50 projects led by community and volunteer groups, councils and individuals have been awarded a share of a £10 million pot to increase tree numbers in urban areas.

The funding has been awarded as part of the second and final round of the Forestry Commission’s Urban Tree Challenge Fund.

The second round will result in the planting over 84,000 trees in towns and cities across England, the Forestry Commission says. This means that there will be a combined total of up to 134,000 new trees planted, surpassing the Fund’s original target to plant 130,000.

Successful projects include the Darlington Forest project in County Durham, which will extend an existing green corridor in the area with the planting of 6,800 trees to improve the environment for wildlife as well as local communities; 7,500 new trees in Eastbourne, East Sussex, to form part of a wider programme of natural environment improvement across the area; and 8,234 new trees in Durham which will be planted at a number of locations to extend and link existing woodlands to enhance biodiversity and habitat connectivity, and improve areas of reclaimed land whilst also benefiting local communities.

READ MORE: Woodland Trust Scotland calls for half of all trees planted to be native

Sir William Worsley, chair of the Forestry Commission, said: “Community tree planting is a passion of mine which is why I am so excited to see projects like these benefitting from our Urban Tree Challenge Fund.

“Trees give life to our streets and our parks, help improve the health of communities, and provide homes for precious wildlife, and the thousands of new trees that will be planted will bring many benefits for generations to come.”

Forestry minister, Lord Goldsmith, said: “Trees play a crucial role in the fight against the climate and biodiversity loss. In urban areas they can link up our valuable green spaces and connect local communities with nature – something which has never been so important.

“Ahead of our forthcoming England Tree Strategy, and to complement our manifesto ambition to have every new street lined with trees, the success of the Urban Tree Challenge Fund provides a fantastic example of how trees can be planted, managed and enjoyed, wherever you live.”

Cllr Brian Stephens, Durham County Council’s cabinet member for neighbourhoods and local partnerships, said: “The funding we have received from the Urban Tree Challenge Fund has been a wonderful opportunity to plant in our county’s urban environment, in places where tree cover is low. Trees are so important – they help to enhance existing green areas, bring back lost open space, support and increase biodiversity, as well as give significant benefits to our own health and wellbeing.” 

Forestry Journal remains dedicated to bringing you all the latest news and views from across our industry, plus up-to-date information on the impacts of COVID-19.

Please support us by subscribing to our print edition, delivered direct to your door, from as little at £69 for 1 year – or consider a digital subscription from just £1 for 3 months.

To arrange, follow this link:

Thanks – and stay safe.