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Thousands of free trees available for planting in the Chichester District

People will be able to apply for free trees from Chichester District Council for themselves and their communities, as part of a scheme to increase tree planting across the district when applications open on 19 July.

The council launched a pilot scheme – Tree Chichester District – in January using funding from The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). The council is one of five local authorities in England taking part in the £2.5m tree planting pilot, testing ways to increase tree cover in rural and urban areas.

As part of the scheme, the council hopes to distribute up to 7,000 trees, which will be ready for planting later this year. These free trees will be available for everyone in the Chichester District to apply for, including schools, community groups, landowners, businesses and residents, from Monday 19 July by visiting www.chichester.gov.uk/treescheme. Trees can be planted in school fields, open spaces, public gardens or private land.

Trees will be supplied in bundles of 10 or 20, but not as individual trees, and applicants will receive different bundles to suit the location and soil type of the area in which they plan to plant them. Biodegradable guards and stakes will also be provided with the trees to help them grow and thrive.

“We are delighted to be able to offer these trees to support groups and individuals in the district with their tree planting projects,” says Councillor Penny Plant, Cabinet Member for Environment and Chichester Contract Services at Chichester District Council.

“Different trees suit different types of growing conditions, so we have specially selected bundles of trees tailored for specific areas. This means that community groups, schools, landowners and businesses can apply from this scheme wherever they are in the district and make a positive impact on their community.

“To apply for the scheme, you will need to ensure you have the space available to plant the trees and that you have someone responsible for planting and maintaining them. The trees can be planted on your own land, or on land owned by someone else, as long as you have the landowner’s permission.

“All applications will be assessed to ensure they meet the criteria, which is designed to ensure the trees thrive, and trees will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. Applications will close on Wednesday 1 September, or when all of the available trees have been allocated. Successful applicants will need to be able to come and collect their trees from a designated collection point in the district.

“At the beginning of the year, we announced the launch of our Tree Chichester District scheme. Our Tree Project Officer has been in touch with people from across the district, giving them advice on their tree planting projects and helping them access funding and sourcing trees through a range of organisations.

“We’re really excited about this next phase of the project as we know that it will make a real difference to communities across our district and is an important part of our work to help combat climate change. Trees are a precious natural asset and, as a natural carbon sink, are a vital part of the fight against climate change. Trees also create habitats for wildlife, improve biodiversity, and aid wildlife corridors.

“This is just one of the ways in which we are working to protect and enhance our local environment. Last year we produced a Climate Emergency Action Plan, which sets out a carbon reduction target of 10% year–on-year until 2025 for the Chichester District. The plan also outlines the steps that the council is taking to cut emissions within the work that it does, and to improve the energy efficiency of council buildings and to reduce emissions from its vehicles. You can find out more about this work at www.chichester.gov.uk/climatechange.”

People can find more information about the scheme, along with guidance notes for anyone interested in applying for free trees, at www.chichester.gov.uk/treescheme. People can also contact the council’s dedicated Tree Project Officer by emailing treescheme@chichester.gov.uk or calling 01243 521161.

Applications will open Monday 19 July at www.chichester.gov.uk/treescheme

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