Details have been revealed of where South Ribble Borough Council plans to plant the 110,000 trees which it wants to grow - one for every resident.
Worden Park and the Bent Lane area in Leyland will be amongst the first places where the saplings will be introduced this winter – receiving a total of 26,000 between them.
But the biggest single planting area is likely to be embankments of the disused railway line running through the borough, where 20,000 trees will be introduced.
Meanwhile, Withy Grove Park and Farington Park will share 8,000 trees as part of the scheme, which will predominantly see so-called “whips” – single-stemmed trees – and a smaller number of standard native varieties planted across the borough, as part of the authority’s local plans to tackle climate change.
A cabinet meeting heard that people on community payback schemes will be deployed to help plant the trees, reducing the labour costs of the project to a financially viable level. The council is also set to appeal for volunteers to assist with the process.
“By using community groups, I think it will give them more ownership of these precious trees which we are planting,” Sue Jones, cabinet member for the environment, said.
She added that the total number of trees to be planted had so far deliberately been set 7,000 short of 110,000 target to allow suggestions to be put forward for other areas which could benefit from the scheme.
Council leader Paul Foster called for a “tree totaliser” to be installed outside the authority’s headquarters to monitor progress of the four-year project, which will cost £160,000. The additional costs of maintaining the trees are set to be met from within existing budgets.
A total of 11 hectares of broad-leaved, deciduous trees will be planted and while the move appears to enjoy cross-party support, opposition councillors called for more details about exactly where the saplings would spring up.
“If we try and plant too many in a public parks like Worden, it could change the whole atmosphere and aesthetics of what parks and open spaces are all about,” Conservative Cllr Alan Ogilvie said.
Fellow Tory Michael Green warned that the council would have to “take the public with them” over the plans, which he said could change the character of smaller areas.
The ruling Labour group committed to publishing a “sketch”, outlining the proposed locations of the trees in more detail – and to consulting with residents via the borough’s neighbourhood forums.
A recent report in the journal, “Science”, claimed that planting up to 1.2 trillion trees across the world would be the “biggest and cheapest” way of tackling climate change, because of the carbon dioxide which they absorb from the atmosphere. But the phasing out of fossil fuels would still be required, as the effect of additional tree-planting could take up to a century to be felt, the report said.
Labour councillor Matthew Trafford paid tribute to Cllr Sue Jones and her husband, council air quality champion, Ken, for their work on the scheme in South Ribble.
“Future generations will look back at this period of time to decide who it was who decided to take action – and the Jones’s will be looked upon as the good guys,” he said.
WILL I GET A TREE NEAR ME?
Planting will take place between November and March across each of the next four years.
Year 1 (2019-2020)
Leyland: Worden Park, Bent Lane 26,000
Land off Collins Road, Bamber Bridge 1,200
Hutton Wildlife Area 2,000
Middleforth Green 3,000
Year 2 (2020-2021)
Withy Grove Park 3,000
Farington Park 5,000
The Old Railway Line 20,000
Valley Road 1,500
Year 3 (2021-2022)
Ribble Sidings (after planned flood mitigation work is completed) 17,500
Ribble Way Bund at Howick Cross 4,000
Year 4 (2022-2023)
Farington Moss 13,000
Penwortham Bypass compound 7,000