Wiltshire Council, in partnership with Swindon Borough Council, has successfully bid for almost £300,000 from a Government fund that will help communities and landowners to deliver coordinated and appropriate tree planting across Wiltshire and Swindon.
The councils have received a £294,800 grant from the Government’s Forestry Commission and DEFRA Woodland Creation Accelerator Fund. The aim of the fund is to provide local authorities with financial support to bring on board the additional professional expertise they need to drive tree planting and woodland creation commitments.
The grant covers two years and will fund new dedicated Woodland Officers to work across Wiltshire and Swindon. The role of the officers will be to:
- assist communities and landowners with developing bids for grant funding for planting schemes including assisting with writing management plans
- bring communities, partners, and landowners together to deliver tree planting on the ground
- produce a woodland and tree strategy to guide further delivery of planting for communities and landowners, ensuring the right trees are planted in the right place
- work with Lower-Layer Super Output Areas (LSOAs) communities of multiple deprivation in Swindon and Wiltshire to deliver tree based environmental improvements. LSOAs are small areas designed to be of a similar population size.
- coordinate a revitalised ‘Tree Warden scheme’ to engage communities with tree planting and conservation.
- Monitor, record, and map the delivery of tree planting across Wiltshire to help ensure national Government targets are met
The project will help to meet national and local aims related to increasing biodiversity, improving air quality and using nature to help reach carbon net zero targets.
Cllr Richard Clewer, Wiltshire Council Leader and Cabinet Member for Climate Change, said: “We’re delighted to have been successful in getting this funding. We are an ambitious council and this additional money will help us achieve our tree planting targets and ensure we continue to make good progress as set out in our forward-thinking Natural Environment Plan.
“This is work we can’t do on our own and we’re looking forward to working with groups and landowners across Wiltshire to achieve our collective goal of maintaining and improving the natural environment. It’s in everyone’s best interests that we carry out this project successfully and this funding, together with the support of local people, will certainly give us the best opportunity.”
Keith Williams, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Finance and Commercialisation, said: “We’re pleased to have supported Wiltshire Council in their successful bid for funding, and to support in delivering the Trees for Climate programme. This will contribute towards the socio-economic and environmental transformation of local communities through woodland creation.
“Tackling climate change won’t happen overnight – but initiatives and funding like this will make a positive contribution towards the challenge.”
The funding for Wiltshire Council and Swindon Borough Council will help deliver tree planting targets over the next two years that will see planting of 111Ha of trees in the 2023-24 and 222Ha of trees in the 2024-25. It is anticipated that the majority of these will be delivered through community and private landowner initiatives, working with partners such as the Woodland Trust, and Forestry Commission to develop bids for funding.
The council is keen to hear from local community groups and landowners across Wiltshire and Swindon who might be interested in working with the council to deliver these targets. For more information or to express interest people should contact Paul Robertson (Senior Landscape Officer) at email@example.com at Wiltshire Council or firstname.lastname@example.org for Swindon Borough Council.
More information about the Government fund can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-fund-opens-to-accelerate-tree-planting.