The Black Country Consortium, which covers the areas of Dudley, Sandwell, Wolverhampton and Walsall, will benefit from the charity’s Emergency Tree Fund, set up to encourage local authorities to make trees a central part of their policies and boost tree cover to tackle climate change.
The Black Country will use the funding to is develop an “i tree plan” looking at where trees are needed, for example to combat flooding near schools, boost air quality and create more green spaces. It will also see a comprehensive assessment of the area’s tree stock.
Sarah Middleton, chief executive Black Country Consortium said: “The Black Country is working with partners to support and implement green strategies from leading the way nationally in industrial clean energy for small and medium sized businesses to developing our plans around tree planting thanks to this funding from the Woodland Trust. We look forward to working with our partners to ensure trees are at the heart of all our Green Strategies as we all work to deliver on our carbon zero targets.”
In total, £2.9 million will going to councils across the country. It is a key part of the charity’s aim to plant 50 million trees by 2025.
John Tucker, the Woodland Trust’s director of woodland outreach, said: “The Woodland Trust has launched an Emergency Tree Fund to provide vital funding to help make these green projects a reality.
“The Trust’s Emergency Tree Fund has the power to inspire tree planting and woodland creation and galvanise the need to treasure trees and green spaces in neighbourhoods across the UK. What the country’s fight against covid has shown is how communities have come together in a time of crisis.
"As the pandemic hopefully abates, getting outside and planting, maintaining and enjoying trees will be a way for this spirit to be harnessed once again in a different but a very important way - to tackle the climate and nature crises which also affects us all.”
Among the aims of the Emergency Tree Fund are to boost green spaces and therefore health, plant trees to soak up harmful carbon, combat pollution and create detailed strategies to meet carbon zero targets.
The Black Country project sits alongside that of Wolverhampton Council which is also benefit from funding and is creating an urban tree planting initiative and is looking to plant pockets of woodland on a range of open spaces in the city.
To achieve its 50 million tree aim the Trust is aiming to create new woods as well as work with the likes of landowners, the Government, businesses and the public. Its Emergency Tree Fund may be expanded should this prove a success.