Thousands of trees will be planted near schools and healthcare centres and in areas with fewer trees and higher social deprivation, as the Urban Tree Challenge Fund has re-opened for applications, Defra and the Forestry Commission has announced.
Across the country 44,000 large trees will be planted in towns and cities. These will support areas to improve health and wellbeing and help connect people to the outdoors.
Evidence from Forest Research shows the majority of adults surveyed agreed that their level of happiness when in nature has increased compared to before the pandemic. The new trees will also play a crucial role in the fight against climate change, supporting the UK’s journey to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and commitment to increase tree planting across the UK to 30,000 hectares of trees a year by 2025.
The announcement comes ahead of the government setting out its wider plans on how it intends to deliver on its tree planting commitment. A new action plan for trees and woodland will be published shortly to outline how government will plant new high-quality, well-managed trees and woodlands and improve the condition and resilience of existing ones.
The Urban Tree Challenge Fund has reopened following the success of the first two rounds where a combined total of up to 134,000 new trees will be planted across England’s towns and cities.
Forestry Commission Chair Sir William Worsley commented: “The pandemic has shown us just how important trees and nature are, wherever you live. Through targeting funding toward areas where they will have the biggest benefits, including near healthcare and educational facilities, this fund will deliver increased benefits for health and wellbeing, as well as contributing towards the government’s ambition to increase woodland creation across England.”