Representatives from City of York council and Forestry England were joined by the Lord Mayor to commemorate the planting of 50,000 trees in the community woodland.
In 2019, in partnership with Forestry England, the council pledged to plant 50,000 new trees by March 2023 in what will become one of the biggest community woodlands in England. The 50,000th tree has now been planted, well ahead of schedule.
Spanning 78 hectares, the York Community Woodland area is under the long-term management of Forestry England, who aim to see the number of trees planted increase to 210,000 over the next few years.
The woodland will support York’s efforts to tackle the impacts of climate change, increase biodiversity and promote active travel, health and wellbeing. It will also contribute to York’s new goal of increasing the city’s tree canopy cover from 10.8% to 13% by 2050, the equivalent of 21 hectares of new canopy cover each year.
Cllr Keith Aspden, Leader of City of York Council, said:
“This is a significant milestone in our journey to build a cleaner, greener York. The Community Woodland will benefit the city and its residents for centuries to come, enhancing the setting of the city and making York an even greater place to live, work and visit.
“Our target to be a carbon net-zero city by 2030 is ambitious. Achieving this goal through emissions reduction alone is unlikely, so changing land use to offset emissions across the city is therefore an important part of the solution. I am delighted that not only is the woodland project progressing, but that it has reached this key target ahead of schedule.”
City of York Council’s Executive Member for Climate Change, Councillor Paula Widdowson said:
“We know York’s residents care about our natural environment and are committed to working together to tackle CO2 emissions and protect our local biodiversity.
“Trees can have a major impact on our local environment, from providing habitats for wildlife to absorbing carbon from our atmosphere.
“York Community Woodland is a flagship project contributing to this target. We continue to look into further opportunities for urban tree planting to make York a cleaner, greener city for years to come.”
Gareth Parry, Forest Management Director for Forestry England Yorkshire said:
“Following our joint commitment with the City of York Council to plant 50,000 trees at York Community Woodland before March 2023, we are delighted to celebrate this early success.
"This achievement strengthens our commitment to nature’s recovery and our ambitions to restore nature and tackle climate change across England, as well as helping to bring green spaces and wildlife to everyone, including those who live in towns and cities.”
Read more about Forestry England’s plans for creating the woodland.
Find out more about carbon reduction and climate action in York, or you can also sign up to the council’s monthly climate change newsletter.