More of Suffolk’s tree cover and orchards to be restored

1,877 new trees are being planted across the county by Suffolk’s councils, with a focus on re-establishing orchards

Suffolk County Council has secured funding of £201,213 from the government’s Local Authority Treescapes Fund for 1,877 new trees.

The bid was made on behalf of Babergh District Council, Mid Suffolk District Council, East Suffolk Council, Ipswich Borough Council and West Suffolk Council.

The funding will go towards planting the trees, many of which are ‘standards’ around six feet in height when planted.

It also covers three years of maintenance to help the trees become established.

The fund aims to restore tree cover in non-woodland areas which may have been impacted by issues such as disease, habitat degradation or ageing tree stock.

Many of the proposed projects will involve their local community and pupils from local schools.

Councillor Richard Rout, Suffolk County Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for finance and environment, said:
“We have now made three successful bids to the Local Authority Treescapes Fund on behalf of local councils, bringing in around half a million pounds to plant and maintain 7,604 trees in recent years.

“We are re-introducing tree cover where it has been lost. Successful tree planting doesn’t have to cover many acres of land – small residential plantings can have an equally significant impact on local residents and wildlife.

“Access to a green space helps improve our health and wellbeing, and can be havens for insects and support wildlife.

"It’s crucial that we continue to protect and enhance our local environment, and help reverse the decline in Suffolk’s biodiversity.”

Creating more orchards is one of the themes across the planting projects.

Nationally, there has been a decline in the number of orchards because of commercial pressures and increased imports.

This loss has impacts on the species they support, with less blossom and fruit for food, and less shelter and shading.

It also means we are losing some of our heritage varieties and reducing genetic diversity.

Babergh District Council has worked with volunteers from Hadleigh Environmental Action Team (HEAT) to plant a community orchard beside Pykenham Way footpath (between Aldham Mill Hill and Bradfield Avenue). Watch a video to find out more about the project

Cllr Daniel Potter, cabinet member for environment at Babergh District Council, said:
“We are working hard to increase tree coverage on council land wherever we can to help improve local biodiversity and tackle climate change.

“This most recent Forestry Commission funding has seen us plant several fruit trees in Hadleigh – helping to establish a green corridor alongside the footpath between Aldham Mill Hill and Bradfield Avenue.

“Not only will residents be able to pick the fruit and enjoy the wellbeing benefits trees can bring, but our wildlife will benefit from new habitat too.”

Mid Suffolk District Council has worked with volunteers, including from Friends of Pikes Meadow, to plant community orchards at Pikes Meadow, Elizabeth Way and Gainsborough Road in Stowmarket. Watch a video to find out more about the project

Cllr Tim Weller, cabinet member for environment, culture, and wellbeing at Mid Suffolk District Council, said:
“Increasing tree coverage in Mid Suffolk is key in tackling climate change and biodiversity loss locally.

“This funding has enabled us to plant over 30 new fruit trees in open community spaces in Stowmarket, thanks to the help of local organisations and volunteers.

“Not only will the trees provide important habitat for wildlife and wellbeing benefits, but local residents will also be able to pick the fresh fruit to take home too.”
Tree planting with volunteers from Hadleigh Environmental Action Team (HEAT)