Three free trees offered to every parish council in South Cambridgeshire
Every parish council in South Cambridgeshire is being offered three free trees as part of an ambition to ‘double nature’.
The district council officially launched the Three Free Trees scheme to encourage more planting in Fulbourn last week, where representatives from the village’s parish council joined local schoolchildren to put one large tree into the ground.
The launch came as the Cambridge Independent announced its new Plant a Tree Campaign, calling on communities, schools, organisations and businesses to help plant 10,000 native trees in appropriate sites across the county this year. Cambridgeshire is one of the least wooded counties in the country.
South Cambridgeshire District Council is contacting all 103 parish councils in the area to invite them to apply for a voucher which can be exchanged for three trees, or one large one, at a local garden centre. The voucher will also pay for stakes and tree protection guards.
With trees absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere, they play a key role in helping to combat climate change.
The council has already declared a climate emergency and, in November 2018, pledged to work towards making the district zero carbon by 2050.
Liberal Democrat council leader Cllr Bridget Smith was joined by Fulbourn parish councillor Gill Ward and schoolchildren at the recreation ground in Fulbourn, where they planted the first trees as part of the initiative.
Cllr Smith said: “We hope that every village takes up our offer as it will mean hundreds of new trees are planted across South Cambridgeshire.
“The idea is to show that when you join lots of small positive changes together, they contribute to something much larger.
“I am hopeful that this modest project will be a trigger for much more extensive tree planting by parish councils, businesses, farmers and residents throughout our district, which actually has far fewer trees than most of the rest of the country. It would be great if people were inspired to make a new year’s resolution to plant more. I certainly intend to.
“Being green to our core remains one of our top priorities – whether it be through simple acts like planting trees, supporting community groups with funding for zero carbon projects, increasing recycling rates or generating clean, renewable energy.
“We know we are on the right track after recently being named one of the top performing councils on climate change, but we are determined to do more.
“One of the main ways we’re doing this is by making climate change a key theme in our new joint Local Plan which we are starting to create with our friends at Cambridge City Council.
“Watch out for the chance to have your say on some of the issues and options for this important document from next week.
“We’re also looking at making our own buildings greener, putting solar panels in our office car parks and installing low energy bulbs in our streetlights.”
Cllr Ward, said: “Why would any village want to miss out on free trees? They have so many benefits. Trees help with our general wellbeing, encourage interest in our environment and encourage pride in our village.
“They are a valuable educational resource and encourage children’s play and adventure.”
Parish councils in South Cambridgeshire can apply for their tree voucher at scambs.gov.uk/three-free-trees.