Next round of £10m urban tree fund opens

The Forestry Commission has today (March 30) opened the next round of the £10m Urban Tree Challenge Fund, which is for community and volunteer groups, town councils and individuals to apply for funding to increase tree numbers in urban areas.

Launched in May 2019, the Urban Tree Challenge Fund aims to support the planting of more than 130,000 trees across England’s towns and cities.

This announcement of round two opening follows the success of round one, which saw thirteen large scale projects from local authorities and large organisations awarded grants to plant more than 50,000 trees in urban areas.

The scheme is being administered by the Forestry Commission, with applications for single planting projects of between 150 and 5,000 small trees invited. Applications that contain 500 or more trees are especially encouraged. Grants will fund the planting of trees and the first three years of their care to ensure they can flourish into the future.

The grant will be delivered as a challenge fund, and therefore requires 50% match funding from those who apply, through either money or labour.

Successful applicants of round two will not start planting trees until the next planting season (winter 2020/21).

Forestry Minister Lord Goldsmith, said: ‘Our immediate priority is rightly our response to the challenges posed by the coronavirus. But, although these are unprecedented times, we want to continue to uphold the nation’s commitment to the environment.

‘We have made sure that the applications for round two of the Urban Challenge Tree Fund can be completed online so individuals are not putting themselves at risk, and I encourage anyone thinking of applying to do so in a safe way, using digital platforms to plan their application with colleagues if necessary.

‘Our manifesto sets our ambition to have every new street lined with trees — and I am dedicated to working closely with the Forestry Commission to help make this vision a reality.’

Last week, a guide was published by University of Surrey experts which shows which species of tree are best for tackling roadside air pollution.

The authors want the paper to help urban planners, landscape architects and garden designers, make informed decisions on which species of vegetation to use and, crucially, what factors to consider when designing a green barrier.

They studied 61 species and found that evergreen plants with small leaves and high foliage density were the best for reducing air pollution.

Plants that pollinate via the wind were found to be ineffective.


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