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17,000 trees planted in Chelmsford this season

Over 17,000 trees and woodland whips have been planted in Chelmsford this planting season (October- March). This brings us a step closer to the council’s goal of planting over 175,000 trees in the next decade.

Treeplanting Stock Image - foot on spade

With the help of community volunteers and parish councils, 16,600 woodland whips and 684 standard larger trees have been planted – a total of 17,284 trees.

Hylands Park, Admirals Park, Lionmede Park and Springfield Green have been listed as the Queen’s Green Canopy planting sites.

Other sites where woodland planting has taken place are at John Shennan Field, Isaac Square (Great Baddow), Honeypot Lane (Stock), Moulsham School, Chatham Green and Danbury and Baddow Recreation Ground.

Addressing Climate Change

Over the next ten years, Chelmsford City Council has pledged to plant a tree for every resident as part of a worldwide effort to counteract emissions and dramatically reduce the effects of climate change. This is key action in ‘Our Chelmsford Our Plan’ and the ‘Climate and Ecological Emergency Action Plan’.

Here are the number of trees planted in Chelmsford so far:

Planting season Number of woodland and standard trees planted
2019/20 14,559
2020/21 15,563
2021/22 17,284
TOTAL 47,406

A community effort

Much of the woodland planting and aftercare has been undertaken and continues to be undertaken by local volunteers. In February, 15 students and staff from Anglia Ruskin University planted 600 trees at Chatham Green, followed by many more schools, organisations and individual volunteers.

Cost-effective and sustainable approach

The cost of native woodland whip planting per sqm is £1.35 and includes supply of whips, planting, protective fencing, gapping up as required and aftercare. In some locations, whips were inter-planted with larger native feathered trees and this brings the cost up to £4.10 per sqm. The council also undertake an aftercare regime such as gapping-up and replanting to help the woodland areas establish over a number of planting seasons.

I’m delighted that we’ve met our planting target once again and would like to thank our wonderful volunteers and parks team who’ve worked so hard in challenging conditions to plant and look after these trees. Chelmsford City Council is leading the way as a local authority, introducing bold policies to reduce carbon emissions, pledging to plant a tree for every resident by 2030 and requiring developers to plant at least three new trees for every new home built.

But trees aren’t simply carbon-capturing machines, though they do have a remarkable capacity for carbon storage. They’re fundamental to restoring our threatened ecosystem. The UK has lost nearly half of its biodiversity since the Industrial Revolution and is ranked in the bottom 10% in the world and the worst among G7 nations for biodiversity. We can, and must, do more. Our mass-greening initiative is designed to boost biodiversity and is already bearing fruit – literally. The mixture of larger standard trees and thousands of native woodland whips, such as oak, hazel, hawthorn and dog rose, helps create and connect vital habitat for wildlife, and enrich depleted soil, right across the district.

The council has received comments from some people concerned by the loss of newly planted whips in areas designated for woodland habitat creation. This is a natural part of the process, especially when starting from scratch on previously barren, close-mown open space, and we budget for “gapping up” – replacing those losses – year on year. These areas aren’t watered because it’s vital to ensure the young trees develop deep root systems early. And planting a huge number of varied woodland and hedgerow species over 10 years, coupled with the application of bark-chip mulch around the base of each young tree as it establishes, gives the best chance of producing climate-resilient habitats.

Councillor Rose Moore, Cabinet Member for Greener and Safer Chelmsford

How to get involved

Want to be involved in the next planting season? More information and how to register at Love Your Chelmsford.

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Charlotte Maltby
Charlotte Maltby

Charlotte writes about the environment, parks, recycling, business, planning, public realm and democratic services.