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Parishes offered free trees to support royal and national initiatives

14 September 2021 : Council news, Environment

In the run-up to this year’s winter planting season, Somerset West and Taunton (SWT) is once again offering free trees to town and parish councils, including unparished areas.

The scheme, which was first introduced last autumn, supports the council’s commitment towards reaching a carbon-neutral district by 2030.

In addition to furthering the council’s climate goals, the timing of the scheme enables civil and unparished areas to participate in the UK’s largest annual tree celebration known as National Tree Week.

Organised by The Tree Council, National Tree Week 2021 is taking place from Saturday, 27 November to Sunday, 5 December, and will bring people together in a nationwide tree planting event.

Similarly, this year’s tree giveaway provides a unique opportunity to support the Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC) project.

Initiated by HRH The Prince of Wales, the QGC invites communities across the UK to plant trees from the start of the planting season in October, through to the end of 2022 to celebrate HM Queen Elizabeth II's forthcoming Platinum Jubilee.

The aim of the project is to encourage planting in both rural and urban settings and participating groups can upload their projects to an interactive map via the QGC website.

Local councils or charter trustees wishing to take part in any of these initiatives can order bare root trees completely free of charge, up to the value of £50 as per the listed guide on the council's Free trees webpage.  This is equivalent to seven or eight trees depending on the combination of species chosen, which include Beech, Hawthorn, Lime or Oak.

Each tree comes with a stake, tie and guard and will be available to collect in the week commencing 22 November, from one of three locations across the district – Taunton Deane Nurseries, Wellington Depot or Minehead Depot.

The closing date for requests is Friday, 22 October 2021.

Cllr Dixie Darch, Executive Member for Climate Change, said: “Climate consideration is at the heart of everything we do and making small changes such as planting trees is a positive step in bringing down our carbon footprint.

“As well as producing oxygen and removing harmful carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, trees create beautiful, uplifting outdoor environments that provide new habitats for wildlife.

“I urge all town and parish councils including unparished areas, to join the effort in offsetting our emissions by taking advantage of this free offer.”

Commenting on the QCG, the Chair of SWT, Cllr Hazel Prior-Sankey, said: “The Queen’s Green Canopy is a fantastic project and a wonderful way to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee, which celebrates a remarkable 70 years on the throne – the longest of any monarch in this country.

“This scheme means many individual trees will be planted, but will also generate, we hope, more ambitious schemes such as new woodlands.  The countdown to planting begins now, giving people time to plan their planting projects ready for October, when the tree planting season begins.

“I encourage our parishes, as well as individuals, community groups and organisations to get involved and ‘Plant a tree for the Jubilee’.”

To find out more or to order any trees, visit the council’s webpage at somersetwestandtaunton.gov.uk/FreeTrees.

For further information about National Tree Week, the QGC or to get involved, visit:

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