tree planting
© Andrey Mikhaylov

The UK government has announced a fund of £14 million to allow both local authorities and community groups to improve well-being through tree planting

Hundreds of thousands of trees are to be planted within communities across England following the release of two major funding schemes promoting plant growth.

Those who pass the application process for “The Urban Tree Challenge Fund and Local Authorities Treescapes Fund” will be allocated funds in an effort to “support tree planting efforts and improve the urban environment for future generations” according to the Forestry Commission Chief Executive Richard Stanford.

support tree planting efforts and improve the urban environment for future generations

Both funds: the Local Authority Treescapes Fund and the Urban Tree Challenge Fund, are now open year-round, responding to feedback on the challenges of meeting application windows previously.

The UK and trebling tree planting rates

This 314 million pound grant will contribute to Government commitments to treble tree-planting rates across England by the end of this Parliament, planting 30,000 hectares of trees across the UK per year to meet net-zero ambitions.

There is a hope that along with round 3 of the Local Authority Treescapes Fund (LATF), local authorities will drive an increase in non-woodland tree planting across our landscapes.

Community engagement is to be encouraged, and local authorities will be able to bring together residents, schools and environmental groups to restore trees in areas outside woodlands, where treescapes are often highly degraded due to neglect or disease.

It is crucial to protect particularly valuable trees, as they can provide society with the greatest levels of ecosystem services, including well-being benefits and connectivity to support biodiversity.

The Urban Tree Challenge Fund and levelling up nature

According to the UK government, Round 5 of the Urban Tree Challenge Fund (UTCF) will “level up access to nature across the country, planting trees in socially deprived urban areas with low canopy cover, in proximity to healthcare and educational facilities.”

Trees improve people’s quality of lives

Forestry Minister Trudy Harrison commented on the importance of this funding opportunity: ”Trees improve people’s quality of lives and are vital to our ambition to reach net zero by 2050. This funding will continue to level up people’s access to nature, which we committed to doing in our recently published Environmental Improvement Plan. We want to see inspiring projects that plant more trees across England.”

The importance of trees in cities and towns should not be overlooked. An increase in trees allows areas to become more pleasant places with further temperature control, reduced pollution, decreases in flood risk and an overall improvement in people’s lives.

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