Following the huge popularity of Mid Suffolk’s Tree for Life pilot, the hit scheme will be continuing into 2019.
The Tree for Life scheme, first launched in 2018, offers every family in Mid Suffolk celebrating a new child, both by birth and adoption, a free tree to plant to mark the occasion. The scheme is open to any family with a new arrival in Mid Suffolk, with trees due to be planted in family gardens anywhere in the district.
Applications may be made both for new arrivals in 2019 and by any families who missed the opportunity to apply in 2018. Applications must be made by 10 January 2020 and can be submitted on the council’s website.
A selection of trees are available, including fig trees small enough to be pot grown for those who may not have access to a garden. Applicants can also ask Mid Suffolk officers about alternative locations to plant their tree if needed.
The scheme was originally proposed by the Green Party group on Mid Suffolk District Council and supported by the administration.
Successful applicants during the 2018 pilot scheme collected their trees from Sandy Lane Nursery across two Saturdays in January, 19 and 26 January 2019. Each family was given the option of a pear, apple, plum or fig tree, or a flowering cherry tree.
In total 179 families successfully applied for a tree to celebrate their new arrival: this is approximately 21% of the estimated births in Mid Suffolk in 2018, and is far ahead of the uptake seen in the first year of similar schemes run across the country.
Cllr David Burn, Mid Suffolk District Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “The wonderful response we’ve had to this pilot scheme has greatly exceeded our expectations. To be celebrating in this way the arrival of more than one in five new babies in our district is outstanding, especially as this is the first year we’ve done it, and it gives me great pleasure to announce the scheme will continue into its year. Just like the new life they symbolise, these trees will settle in and begin to flourish over the coming years. They will go on to make important contributions in many ways to our quality of life. I am confident these ’baby’ trees and the children they represent will soon be playing their part in making Mid Suffolk a better place.”
Cllr Andrew Stringer, Green Party Councillor for Mendlesham, said: “This just goes to prove that smaller political groups can get their ideas implemented, what a great example of different political groups working together to achieve a positive outcome.
“I would also like to thank the staff involved as they have taken the idea, and ran with it, turning our ideas into reality. It is a great thrill to see a policy idea you have promoted actually become a huge success, all too often councils are involved in bad news, it’s great to spread a little positive news for a change.”