Preston granted 'Champion City' status to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee

Preston has been granted "Champion City" status by the Queen's Green Canopy initiative to celebrate Her Majesty's 70 years on the throne next year.

By Brian Ellis
Wednesday, 17th November 2021, 9:24 am

The award was announced yesterday, with 13 cities across the UK selected to play a lead role in planting millions of trees for the Platinum Jubilee.

The honour comes 20 years after Preston became a city to mark the Queen's Golden Jubilee in 2002.

Belfast, Edinburgh, Cardiff and York are amongst the others chosen to take part in the mass planting, starting during National Tree Week later this month.

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Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Charles planting a tree on the Balmoral Estate to signal the launch of the Queen's Green Canopy initiative last month.

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“Preston is proud to be named one of the Champion Cities for the Queen’s Green Canopy," said Deputy Mayor Coun Neil Darby.

“As the Golden Jubilee City 2002, we are honoured to take an active role in this unique, sustainable legacy commemorating 70 years of service.

"The trees planted in Preston to mark the occasion will be appreciated and well-loved by Preston residents and communities across all generations, and for those generations yet to come.”

Tree lined Moor Park in Preston - one of the parks which earned the city its new status.

Plans are being made to celebrate each of the UK's Champion Cities in turn. The status is granted to "outstanding" cities which have trees and woodland as a central part of their plans for green spaces.

Coun Robert Boswell, Preston's cabinet member for environment and community safety, described the Queen’s Green Canopy programme as "a brilliant, sustainable way for Preston to mark the Platinum Jubilee."

He added: "As a city with multiple Green Flag awards, we have long since demonstrated that our parks and green spaces are of utmost importance – not only to the council, but to our residents and communities.

"This was made abundantly clear during the pandemic when so many used our parks for their daily exercise, finding both mental and physical health benefits.

The UK will plant millions of trees over the next 14 months to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee.

"Investing further into these spaces by planting additional trees is for the good of all of us.”

National Tree Week begins on November 27 and goes through to December 5.

Nationally two key initiatives are being launched during that week - the Champion City programme and a community led project to plant 10,000 trees in Bradford.

On November 27, at Newhall Park in Bradford, the QGC will come together with the local community, schools and voluntary groups of all ages to plant the trees as part of the Council’s “Tree for Every Child” programme.

This follows the successful delivery of the QGC’s first urban greening project in Tower Hamlets, London in October.

The QGC and Trees for Cities will deliver projects in all four nations of the UK as part of the Platinum Jubilee year.

The QGC will launch the “Champion Cities” initiative with Greater Manchester and Leicester hosting community events on December 4/5, "to highlight the leadership, dynamism, and influence of some of the nation’s outstanding cities."

As part of its work to highlight urban greening initiatives, the QGC invited cities from across the United Kingdom to apply for “Champion City” status.

"The initiative seeks to celebrate UK cities which have trees and woodlands as a central part of their plans for green spaces, for example in the form of a dynamic green recovery plan or green city charter, as well as community-oriented environmental projects," said a spokesperson.

"Through plans to plant 3m trees, Greater Manchester has set an ambitious target of being carbon neutral by 2038. The city has developed strong green infrastructure coordination across the 10 Greater Manchester districts, which include some of the most socioeconomically deprived regions in the country."

Leicester City Council's commitment to maintaining and replenishing its 153,000 trees and 109 hectares of woodland is set out in its Tree Strategy.

The council plans to plant more than 7,500 trees during this autumn/winter planting season, supported by its volunteer tree wardens and dozens of community volunteers.

The Queen’s Green Canopy is a unique tree planting initiative which invites people from across the United Kingdom to “Plant a Tree for the Jubilee."

Everyone, from individuals to scout and girl-guiding groups, villages, cities, counties, schools and corporates, will be encouraged to play their part to enhance our environment by planting trees during the official planting season between October to March. Tree planting will commence again in October 2022, through to the end of the Jubilee year.

"With a focus on planting sustainably, the QGC will encourage tree planting to create a legacy in honour of the Queen’s leadership of the nation, which will benefit future generations," added the spokesperson.

"As well as inviting the planting of new trees, the Queen’s Green Canopy will dedicate a network of 70 ancient woodlands across the United Kingdom and identify 70 ancient trees to celebrate Her Majesty’s 70 years of service.

"By inviting everyone to plant considerable numbers of new trees throughout the country, the QGC seeks to highlight the significant value of trees and woodlands as nature’s simple but highly effective way to clean the air we breathe, slow the impact of climate change, create important wildlife habitats and improve our general health and wellbeing.

"Throughout her reign the Queen has planted more than 1,500 trees all over the world and has spoken alongside Sir David Attenborough of the importance of trees in the earth’s future."

The QGC is a voluntary and inclusive initiative which is open to participation by everyone in the UK. It is a not-for-profit initiative and has not received any government funding.