Thousands of New Trees for a Greener South Tyneside
Planting season is well underway in South Tyneside as the Council works to deliver on its commitment to plant at least 3,000 trees a year.
This year's tree planting season is currently in progress and involves the planting of 3,000 whips, plus 825 standard trees - of which more than 220 are already in the ground.
Community events are also set to be held across the Borough this spring with local people, volunteers and groups encouraged to help plant the trees.
The pledge to plant 3,000 trees a year is one of the ways the Council is delivering on its community priority of investing in the natural and built environment. It also supports the Council's commitment to take all necessary steps to make South Tyneside carbon neutral by 2030, after declaring a climate emergency in July 2019.
Councillor Ernest Gibson, Lead Member for Area Management and Community Safety, said: "Tree planting is an integral part of the Council's approach to tackling the effects of climate change by using nature to capture carbon emissions from the atmosphere.
"Trees also help to improve air quality and biodiversity, create new wildlife habitats, enhance our communities and greenspaces as well as bring health and wellbeing benefits.
"We have thousands of new trees being planted as part of a range of different schemes. They are helping to boost our natural environment and deliver an attractive a sustainable environment for our residents and visitors to enjoy for generations to come.
"In total, we will have more than 3,825 new trees planted by the end of spring."
South Tyneside Council is one of six local authorities across the region supporting the delivery of the North East Community Forest.
Officially launched earlier this month, the initiative will help to achieve carbon neutral goals through the planting up to 500 hectares of tree and woodland over a four-year period and a long-term objective to increase canopy coverage across the region to 30 per cent by 2050 - almost double the present national average.
South Tyneside's average tree canopy coverage is 16 per cent - already exceeding the UK standards for coastal towns, which is 15 per cent.
The 3,000 new whips being planted at Temple Memorial Park are being delivered thanks to Trees for Cities funding, which has also supported the delivery of more than 230 standard trees already planted across the Borough.
The Council was also recently successful in the Urban Tree Challenge Fund to deliver a further 646 standard trees in urban areas over the next two planting seasons.
Further tree planting will take place to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations under the Green Canopy Coverage initiative, with 70 trees planted and an avenue of cherry trees in South Marine Park.
In addition to Community Area Forum-funded planting schemes and community group-led planting, almost 80 fruit trees were delivered to schools during 2021/22. Trees were also planted in every ward last November to coincide with the UN's 26th global climate summit, Conference of the Parties (COP26).
In 2018/19, the Council planted 5,332 trees, followed by a further 3,961 in 2019/20 - significantly more than the council's target of 3,000 annually.
Councillor Gibson said: "We are passionate about the environment and tackling the effects of climate change and through schemes like the North East Community Forest we can really step up our efforts.
"In our community priorities, we made a commitment to go even further than that and plant many more trees as we invest in our natural environment.
"The planting work that is underway will make a real difference to the Borough's tree canopy coverage and help us to make the Borough a cleaner, greener and healthier place to live."
South Tyneside Council was one of the first local authorities to develop a comprehensive Tree and Woodland Policy, with tree protection and sustainability at its forefront.
As well as planting new trees, the Council's team of qualified and experienced arboriculturists carry out regular inspections as part of their routine maintenance work to ensure a healthy tree stock for the Borough. Trees are only ever removed as a last resort after very careful consideration and for each tree removed, the Council plants at least one more.