The Forestry Commission and Defra have opened the third round of the Urban Tree Challenge Fund that will support the establishment of 44,000 large trees in towns and cities across England. Focussing on areas with higher social deprivation with fewer trees, particularly near schools and healthcare centres, the fund will support people’s health and wellbeing, help the country build back greener from the pandemic and will help aid a number of wider environmental benefits.
Supporting the Government’s commitment to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, the thousands of new trees will play an important role in the fight against climate change, also helping deliver the UK’s pledge to plant 30,000 hectares of trees a year by 2025.
The reopening of the fund comes just as the government is due to announce a new action plan for trees and woodland that will outline how government will plant new high-quality, well-managed trees and woodlands and improve the condition and resilience of existing ones.
Forestry Minister Lord Goldsmith said:
“I am delighted to announce the reopening of this hugely successful fund, made possible by £6 million from our Nature for Climate Fund. Ahead of our forthcoming ambitious action plan for trees, woodland and forestry, and to complement our manifesto ambition to have every new street lined with trees, the Urban Tree Challenge Fund provides a fantastic example of how trees can be planted, managed and enjoyed to provide the greatest impact – in areas where they are needed most.”
Forestry Commission Chair Sir William Worsley said:
“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.”
The third round of the Urban Tree Challenge Fund will provide up to £6 million for planting in addition to necessary maintenance payments. The grants are administered by the Forestry Commission, and successful applicants are match-funding the money they receive.
Announced today, the new £1 million Woods into Management Innovation Fund will focus on improving the condition of existing woodlands, supporting woodland habitat and increasing their resilience to pests, diseases and climate change.