Published Feb 13, 2020

Government announces projects to receive funds for urban trees

The government has declared that 13 projects in urban communities in England will receive a share of £10 million in the first round of the Urban Tree Challenge Fund.

The scheme, which launched in May 2019, aims to plant 130,000 trees across England by 2021. More than 22,000 large and 28,000 small trees will be planted in urban areas like Bristol, Merseyside and Thanet.

The government said its commitment to planting 30,000 hectares of trees a year in the UK by 2025 would help to increase canopy cover in towns and cities.

Theresa Villiers, before she was removed from her role as Environment Secretary, said: “Trees are vital in the fight against climate change, to tackle air pollution and help us achieve our net-zero target by 2050. But for local communities they are so much more. They allow green spaces to come together, help both physical and mental wellbeing, and connect children and young people with nature".

The first round of the projects include:

  • the Trees for Cities project, which will receive support for at least 9,000 trees to be distributed across the country;
  • more than 8,000 trees will be planted by Slough Borough Council;
  • almost 7,000 large trees will go to London Street Trees; and
  • 6,000 trees to The Mersey Forest.

The Urban Tree Challenge Fund is made up of two parts:

  • Year One: the fund was open for block bids from local authorities or larger organisations, and bidding closed on the 31 August 2019;
  • Year Two: the fund will reopen for applications for individual tree planters, starting in spring 2020.

Applicants will be able to submit expressions of interest to the Forestry Commission to gain more information about the fund. The grants will provide funding for the planting of trees in the first three years of care, to ensure that they reach their full potential in the future.