17 Dec 2020
Council sets out ambitious targets to almost double tree cover in Leeds by 2050.
Senior councillors have approved new targets to increase tree cover in the Leeds district from 17% to 33% over the next 30 years.
The White Rose Forest Strategy for Leeds will improve the quality, quantity and access of woodlands across the city – ensuring that no household in Leeds is further than 500m from wooded spaces by 2050.
Tree planting will improve the health and wellbeing of residents as well as reduce flood risk, support wildlife and absorb carbon.
The council will lead by example planting 5.8million trees over the next 25 years on public land as part of the Woodland Creation Scheme. Leeds’ White Rose Forest strategy will go even further by promoting the planning and planting of trees on private land.
The strategy will see the tree planting target for Leeds district increased to 1500 hectares by 2030 – equivalent to 2,100 football pitches. This is estimated to offset approximately 26,000 tonnes of carbon emissions.
To make this ambition a reality, the council will work in partnership with landowners, institutions, businesses, communities and volunteers as well as the White Rose Forest partnership – a local authority-based joint venture working to increase tree cover across West and North Yorkshire.
As Leeds residents know their localities best, the council will encourage residents to help bring the White Rose Forest to their community by identifying areas suitable for planting and volunteering time to plant and maintain trees.
Businesses and institutions wishing to contribute to the White Rose Forest will be able to provide land, sponsorship, or value-in-kind donations that help make the forest possible while improving the lives of neighbouring communities.
Councillor Lisa Mulherin, Leeds City Council’s executive member for climate change, transport and sustainable development, said:
“So many of us have valued our local woodlands more than ever this year and there’s never been a better time to create more of them. Planting new woodlands will have huge benefits for the health and wellbeing of residents and the protection of the city’s wildlife, flora and fauna, now and in the years to come.
“Climate change presents us with unprecedented challenges and we all have a responsibility to support local wildlife and reduce our own carbon footprint. Tree planting will offer residents and organisations across the city the chance to lead by example and make a difference.
“We need to be absolutely clear, we can’t plant our way out of a climate emergency—but delivering this strategy successfully will enable Leeds to become a carbon neutral city quicker than we could otherwise. That time makes a difference.”
Notes for editors
The White Rose Forest is the community forest for West and North Yorkshire and part of the Northern Forest – an ambitious plan to plant 50 million trees by 2042 across the north of England. www.whiteroseforest.org
Businesses, institutions and landowners that would like to support the White Rose Forest in Leeds can contact WRF@leeds.gov.uk
Residents, communities and organisations can volunteer to plant trees as part of the Woodland Creation Scheme. Find out more on our website: https://www.leeds.gov.uk/leisure/parks-and-countryside/woodland-creation
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Leeds City Council