More trees to be planted this winter

11:02am - 13 October 2020

A further 20,000 trees will be planted at sites across North Somerset this winter as part of North Somerset Council's ambitious rewilding programme.

The council is again inviting volunteers to help with the planting which will start in November.

With Covid-19 health and safety guidelines in place, numbers will be restricted and anyone wanting to get involved will need to pre-register. They can do this on the council's website at www.n-somerset.gov.uk/rewilding where the locations and dates of all the November planting sessions can be found.

The first phase of the rewilding programme took place in February when, with the help of around 400 volunteers, 5,000 trees were planted in parks and open spaces across the district. It is planned to plant a total of 50,000 trees over the next two years creating 25 hectares of new woodland. 

Rewilding also involves creating around 40 hectares of tall grass areas where the grass will be allowed to grow. This summer saw the introduction of the first tall grass areas with a good range of grass species and associated flower species already starting to show.

Together, these initiatives will create more habitats for wildlife to flourish and increase biodiversity, helping to mitigate the effects of climate change.

The areas where tree planting took place earlier this year have been assessed by the council's tree team who have found that, despite a very wet February followed by the driest spring on record, the overall success rate has been high with around 70 per cent of the trees surviving. Over the winter it is planned to revisit sites where the success rate has not been as good to replace the lost trees.

As part of its plans to tackle the climate emergency the council carried out a three-month consultation on its rewilding proposals at the end of last year with more than three-quarters of respondents supporting rewilding.

"Planting trees is a great opportunity to get involved in shaping the future landscape of North Somerset," said Cllr Bridget Petty, the council's executive member for the environment and climate emergency. "Evidence-based research shows that trees are good for the community. The planting of trees provides more interesting birds and wildlife to see and more evidence of the changing seasons.

"Last year the council declared a climate emergency, but it means nothing without action. The council is committed to taking action to make a better future for our children and grandchildren. I fear the worst if we do not act now.

"Tree planting is just one aspect, but I am proud of this council's commitment and leadership in providing green spaces that offer benefits for this generation and the ones to come.

"Where local communities have concerns about our plans for open spaces we will listen and consult with them about what is most appropriate for those areas. As well as walking and spending time in woodlands, there is a need for locations for picnics, playing sports and flying a kite and I hope that North Somerset Council land will be a balance of both."

For more information about the rewilding project, including a map of all the locations, go to www.n-somerset.gov.uk/rewilding.