This week is National Tree Week, the UK’s largest annual celebration to mark the beginning of the tree planting season.
Last year, Brighton & hove council’s tree planting programme was awarded a £1 million grant from the Carbon Neutral Fund which enabled us to plant 425 trees and 2,530 young tree seedlings, known as whips, in 2021/22.
Some of this investment has been in new staff. Before the new tree-planting team was in place, the council only had resources to plant an average of 80 trees a year.
More recently, 17 volunteer group members from Brighton & Hove Green Spaces Forum (BHGSF) have won around £130,000 from the Urban Tree Challenge Fund to plant 272 large specimen trees. This follows last year’s successful funding bids to plant 138 trees across the city.
Urban Tree Challenge Fund
The Urban Tree Challenge Fund encourages community groups and organisations to plant trees in parks and open spaces with low canopy cover.
The initiative is led by the Forestry Commission, which provides funding for large ‘standard’ trees which can immediately benefit communities by capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, as opposed to smaller trees and saplings which take time to mature.
The funding covers the cost of buying and planting trees and their establishment costs for 3 years following planting, including watering and weeding, while Brighton & Hove City Council pays for the stakes and wire. Contractors do the planting and volunteers mulch and assist with watering in drought conditions.
Achieving a shared goal
Cliff Munn, Chair of Brighton & Hove Green Spaces Forum, said: “This is a great example of green space volunteer groups and City Parks working together to achieve a shared goal.
“We are already planning how to plant bulbs and wildflowers between the trees once mowing is reduced. This will create a better and healthier ecosystem for pollinators and further improve the spaces where our member groups volunteer.”
Councillor Jamie Lloyd, Brighton & Hove’s lead councillor for biodiversity, said: “By planting more trees, we can boost biodiversity in the city – one of the key strands of the Carbon Neutral 2030 programme.
“Tree planting is an important part of our fight against the climate crisis as trees help to capture carbon dioxide, filter run-off from heavy rainfall and provide essential food, nutrition and refuge for wildlife.
“Not only this, but more trees will help improve air quality throughout the city, ensuring Brighton & Hove is a healthier place for residents and visitors alike.”
Ben Galley, Tree Planting Officer at Brighton & Hove City Council, said; “It has been a great effort from everyone to make this happen and shows what can be achieved when community groups and the council work in partnership towards a common objective”.