‘There’s always room for more trees’ – Sheffield communities urged to get involved with tree planting initiatives

Communities in Sheffield are being urged to take part in an initiative that will see more trees planted across the city and will play its part in slowing down climate change.

Thursday, 26th August 2021, 9:47 am

Sheffield communities are being encouraged to take part in The Queen’s Green Canopy, which is a nationwide drive to plant trees, with individuals, groups, businesses, and whole towns and cities all coming together to get involved.

The initiative has a strong focus on planting sustainably and will benefit future generations whilst also creating a legacy in honour of The Queen’s leadership of the Nation.

It is estimated that the UK needs millions more trees to reach its 2050 carbon net-zero target, which aims to slash emissions by 78 per cent.

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Sheffield Council declared a climate emergency in 2019 and is currently working towards Sheffield becoming a zero-carbon city by the end of the next decade.

To start the work on becoming a zero-carbon city, a dedicated piece of analysis has been produced by the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research that establishes a ‘carbon budget’ for the city.

The report recommends that, in order for Sheffield to make its fair contribution to global climate goals, the city must not exceed a ‘budget’ of 16 million tonnes of carbon emissions over the next two decades.

At current rates of energy consumption, it is estimated that Sheffield would use this entire budget in less than six years.

Councillor Douglas Johnson, Sheffield council’s executive member for climate change, environment and transport, said: “Planting trees in itself doesn't reduce carbon emissions, but trees obviously do take carbon out of the atmosphere, so that's a good thing for offsetting some of the carbon emissions. The big challenge is really about reducing the amount of carbon dioxide that we put into the atmosphere.

“However, there's always more scope for people to plant trees, and the Queen's green canopy is a nice idea. It simply means encourage people to plant more trees.

“The city is very green, but there's always room for more trees and greenery.

“People who've got a garden could plant a small tree along with a bit of advice on picking the right tree, the right place, how to plant and when to plant it. I certainly recommend that people have a look at the Green Canopy website.

“It’d be great to see more people taking up this challenge, and seeing what they can do and of course, if you do plant a tree in your garden, or anywhere, you can keep looking at it for a long time and think I've made a contribution to tackling climate change here is my small part. If everyone plays a small part, then that is how we tackle the global climate crisis.”

Valerie Bayliss, chairperson of Joined Up Heritage Sheffield, said: “We think anything that stands to increase the number of trees is, in principle, very good.

“I mean you're talking here about developing heritage of the future. Our definition of heritage is very wide; it includes the heritage of the natural environment, and that's a major thing in Sheffield. Think of all the river valleys that were adapted over the centuries to support industry.

“The Rivelin, The Loxley, the Porter and the rest of them, what you've got there is natural environment becoming part of the city's very important heritage. If that's developed in any reasonable way, it's got to be a good thing, I think.”

The Woodland Trust conservation charity, a partner of the QGC, will soon be taking applications for people to claim free trees as part of their Free trees for schools and communities scheme.

Across 2021 and 2022, they have over three million saplings in tree packs, available on a first-come-first-served basis.

Information on how to apply for the free saplings is available at www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/plant-trees/schools-and-communities/