An intensive programme that aims to see one million new trees planted across the region has today (9 March) been kicked off by Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen.
Trees on Tees is an exciting new scheme to increase woodland creation in Tees Valley, calling on everyone from multinational businesses and schools to local people, communities and landowners to do their bit and get planting.
The two-year initiative was launched at an event at Kirkleatham Walled Garden in Redcar, which saw representatives from the likes of the Woodland Trust, Forestry Commission, Natural England and local businesses and authorities spread the word to around 170 business leaders and interested individuals.
Local people can get involved too, by visiting www.treesontees.com where they can pick up their very own free tree to get planting themselves.
Trees on Tees has secured £300,000 of funding through the Woodland Creation Accelerator Fund, part of the Government’s Nature for Climate Fund, and a further £83,000 from North East and Yorkshire Net Zero Hub, helping to create four new jobs to deliver the project.
A Project Coordinator and three Project Officers will be on hand to work with partners to identify suitable sites and support them with planting while signposting to potential additional funding streams and facilitating annual free tree planting schemes for local people.
The project will help to support the region’s wider decarbonisation aims while beautifying communities and towns, and increasing woodland bringing considerable environmental benefits.
Mayor Houchen said: “We’re pioneering the cleaner, safer and heathier industries of the future and leading the UK’s low carbon ambitions right now, but we also have to look at the bigger picture and take every opportunity to help meet targets.
“That’s why I’m committing to this ambitions plan, to help our businesses, local authorities and people plant one million trees the length and breadth of Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool.
“While the environmental benefits are obvious, we’re also rightly recognised for our cycling and walking offer to tourists, with fantastic routes such as the Teesdale Way running through the heart of the region. More woodland cover will boost these routes and unlock the potential for new ones, getting even more people visiting and spending in our towns.
“I’d encourage anyone and everyone to sign up and get involved to make our area an even better place to live and visit.”
Steph Rhodes, Delivery Director for the Tree Planting Programme, Forestry Commission, said: “Trees make our local areas healthier and more pleasant places to be, helping to regulate temperatures, reduce pollution, mitigate flood risk, support wildlife and biodiversity, and improve people’s quality of life.
“Local initiatives such as the Trees on Tees partnership are uniquely placed to deliver the Government’s tree planting ambitions, and Forestry Commission are proud to support this project with Defra’s Nature for Climate Fund.
The project is a partnership between the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority and its five Local Authority partners, supported by the Woodland Trust and the Tees Valley Nature Partnership.
To learn more about the scheme or express your interest, visit www.treesontees.com