Tree planting projects get underway across the Chichester District

A total of 8,020 trees have been distributed to residents, community groups, schools, landowners, and businesses across the district thanks to Chichester District Council's free tree initiative.

The council's Tree Chichester District scheme is funded by HM Treasury's Shared Outcomes Fund and aims to test different ways to increase tree cover in rural and urban areas. As part of this scheme people were invited to apply for free trees last summer and the council received more than 100 applications.

The majority of those who successfully applied to the scheme collected their trees from Cattle Market car park in Chichester in December 2021 and the remaining trees were delivered by the team at English Woodlands. Now that all the trees have been delivered, residents, schools and businesses have been getting involved in planting projects across the district.

In Selsey, 120 trees have been planted at Selsey Children's Nursery, extending the existing wildlife corridor from the adjacent Manor Park. Tony Cullen from the nursery says: "We know how important trees are to our lives and the environment. For the children's nursery, we wanted the trees to act as a natural screen from the sun and wind and to attract wildlife such as birds and insects. This will enhance the children's understanding of their surroundings and we've seen how they react positively to being outside in nature."

In Southbourne, 20 trees have been planted by volunteers in the hedgerows bordering Tuppenny Barn. Head gardener Helen Wright says: "I am delighted that we are able to contribute to the support of wildlife in the haven that is Tuppenny Barn. The saplings will improve the diversity of tree species as well as increasing biodiversity and wildlife connectivity. This is especially important as hedgerows provide food and shelter for many species as well as forming essential corridors through which wildlife can travel."

Students and staff at Bishop Luffa School in Fishbourne have planted 20 trees on their school grounds to provide a natural barrier between the two school fields. This project is part of the school's quest to become an Eco School in the near future.

Councillor Penny Plant, Cabinet Member for the Environment and Chichester Contract Services at Chichester District Council, says: "It's been lovely to hear from so many people telling us that they've been busy planting their trees. Thousands have already been planted, which is a fantastic achievement in such a short space of time, and I would like to thank everyone involved. It will take time, but once the trees grow and take shape, they will become a lasting feature in our district for generations to come.

"In addition to the free tree scheme, the council is working on a number of other tree planting projects. One project involves funding tree planting within the farmed landscape, and we have been supporting private landowners who want to help increase tree cover in the district by planting trees on their land. I had the opportunity to visit a site in Bosham where a mixture of bare root whips and larger bare root trees have been planted, leaving some areas for natural regeneration, to test the success of different planting methods.  

"Work is also underway to plant three mini urban forests — one in Selsey, one in Chichester, and one in Midhurst. A community orchard is also set to be planted along a footpath in Goodwood, and in the north of the district, two farms in Northchapel and Kirdford are undertaking tree planting on their land.

"The combination of these different projects will have a positive impact on our communities and help us combat climate change in our area. 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."

Elsewhere in the district, the council's coffee pod recycling partner, Podback, has been working with the council and SUGi, an organisation that helps to create accessible 'pocket forests', to coordinate tree planting in Chichester. A 'pocket forest' is a special method of planting native trees in a small urban area that establish quickly and require little maintenance. Podback has provided funding to Eunomia to plant the trees, which will then be maintained by the council.

Approximately 11 different species of trees have been planted on the site at Summersdale Copse, which was chosen as the trees will have plenty of space to grow and can be enjoyed by residents. Coffee grounds generated through the Podback recycling process were used to support the tree planting.

Rick Hindley, Podback's Executive Director said: "Podback is a pioneering example of end-to-end recycling, with coffee brands, retailers and local authorities working together to enable people to easily recycle their pods, and Chichester District Council is one of our ground-breaking partners. The trees planted as part of the Podback partnership will use our recovered coffee grounds as soil improver, showing the versatility, and value, of the pod recycling process."

Chichester District Council's commitment to increasing tree cover in the district is just part of its work to help protect and enhance the local environment. In 2020, the council produced a Climate Emergency Action Plan, which sets out a carbon reduction target of 10% year-on-year until 2025 for the Chichester District. This target was set for both the council and for the whole of the district.

Penny adds: "A huge amount of work has already been done and we're working closely with West Sussex County Council and other district and borough councils to engage with residents, businesses and organisations about the ways in which we can all play our part in the fight against climate change.

"As part of this, we have recently launched a behavioural change campaign to let residents know about the various energy efficiency measures that they can make to their own homes to save money and reduce their carbon footprint — some of these steps are small and simple, but when we all act together, they make a big difference.

More from Sussex and Hampshire News

On Air Now Tanya McCarthy 6:30am - 10:00am
Now Playing
Outside Of Love Becky Hill
Recently Played
  • Adore You Harry Styles 8:52
  • Got To Have Your Love Liberty X 8:47
  • A Girl Like You Edwyn Collins 8:41