Urban Tree Challenge: 130,000 trees to be planted across England as part of £10m project

19 May 2019, 15:02 | Updated: 19 May 2019, 16:15

Environment Secretary Michael Gove has launched a new £10m plan to plant more than 130,000 trees in towns and cities in England.

Called the Urban Tree Challenge Fund, grants will be made available over the next two years to green urban areas, in an effort to try and meet the government's target to plant one million trees by 2022.

The scheme will be open to individuals, local authorities and charities, and will be administered by the Forestry Commission.

The fund will pay for the planting of trees and for the first three years of their upkeep.

Talking about the scheme, Mr Gove said: "Trees are vital in the fight against climate change, which is why we must go further and faster to increase planting rates.

"We need trees lining the streets of our cities and towns, not only to green and shade them but to ensure that we remain connected to the wonders of the natural world and the health and well-being benefits that it brings us."

Sir William Worsley, the government's tree champion said: "Trees are the lifeblood of our nation, and it is more important than ever to ensure they are rooted not only in our countryside, but in our towns and cities too.

"The benefits of planting urban trees are endless, and I encourage anyone with the ability to apply for this fund to get involved and help green our towns and cities."

The government say that the grant is going to be delivered as a challenge fund, so it will require matched funding from applicants.

Applications will be processed by the Forestry Commission to ensure that they provide the greatest environmental and social benefits possible.

The chair of the Forestry Commission, Sir Harry Studholme, said: "I am delighted the Forestry Commission have been asked to deliver the Urban Tree Challenge Fund. The fund is an important part of the work that the Forestry Commission is doing to expand England's tree and woodland cover.

"It allows us to plant more trees much closer to where people live and work, and where the many benefits of trees make the most difference. We look forward to lots of new planting happening this autumn."

The launch of the fund is part of the government's "Year of Green Action" to help people connect with, protect and enhance nature and is part of a 25-year environment plan, which aims to instil a legacy for future generations.