More than 130,000 trees are to be planted in English towns and cities over the next two years as part of the nation’s battle against global heating.
The environment secretary, Michael Gove, will announce on Sunday that grants for the plantings will be made available through the Urban Tree Challenge Fund.
The scheme, which will be administered by the Forestry Commission, will be open to individuals, local authorities, charities and NGOs. Grants will be given to pay for the planting of trees and for the first three years of their care in order to ensure they flourish.
“This will allow us to plant more trees much closer to where people live and work and where the benefits of trees make the most difference,” said the Forestry Commission chair Sir Harry Studholme.
Trees play a crucial role in the fight against global heating – caused by burning fossil fuels that release carbon dioxide – because they store carbon. Trees in cities and towns also absorb noise, reduce flood risk, provide shade in summer and are associated with general good health and wellbeing.
“We need trees lining our streets, not only to green and shade them but to ensure we remain connected to the wonders of the natural world, which is why we must go further and faster to increase planting rates,” added Gove.
A grant for planting a tree will be delivered as a challenge fund, which means that it will require matched funding from those who apply. The scheme will support projects which are considered to be most likely to provide the greatest environmental and social benefits.
A map will be available to check eligibility before applying.“We need to be planting many more trees over the next 25 years,” said Paul Nolan, chair of England’s Community Forests. “So we welcome this new investment.”