SKDC backs the Big Climate Fightback

The UK's biggest woodland conservation charity has praised South Kesteven District Council for playing its part in a nationwide tree planting campaign.

SKDC has backed the Grantham-based Woodland Trust's Big Climate Fightback that aimed to secure a million pledges to plant trees throughout the country.

Trees were planted on council land at Gonerby, Stamford, Bourne and Deeping St James by SKDC Leader Cllr Kelham Cooke and the Cabinet Member for Commercial and Operations, Cllr Dr Peter Moseley.

Cllr Cooke was joined at Gonerby by the Trust's lead external affairs officer Oliver Newham and director of operations Helga Edwards. The trust's Nick Sandford was with Cllr Dr Moseley at Deeping St James.

Cllr Cooke said: "We are delighted to have supported the Woodland Trust's tree planting project as part of its Big Climate Fightback and will continue to do so.

"Tree planting alone will not solve the climate challenges we are facing but it is one of the ways everyone in the district can play their part.

"SKDC recognises the positive contribution trees make to quality of life across both its urban and rural communities. A healthy tree population brings many benefits, from providing wonderful wildlife habitats to making important contributions to our general well-being."

As part of its wider commitment to being a green council, SKDC has declared a climate emergency with cross-party support. It is recruiting a climate change officer to help meet its ambition to be net-zero carbon as soon as viable before 2050 and reduce its carbon footprint by at least 30% before 2030.

Cllr Dr Moseley said: "Trees absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen so have a vital role to play in achieving those goals.

"SKDC is committed to playing its part in ensuring as many trees as possible are planted. Although there is much more that can be done to tackle climate change and reduce carbon emissions tree planting will play a vital role."

Oliver Newham said: "Local authorities are the voice of their communities so we are delighted to have worked with SKDC as part of the Big Climate Fightback.

"It shows other councils how we would be able to work with them and hopefully the example we set here will be taken up by others."

The council is responsible for around 6,000 trees or tree groups on open spaces that it owns.

SKDC has also worked closely with the Woodland Trust to draw up a local government version of the charity's Tree Charter that takes into account the need for councils to balance a positive commitment to trees with legal obligations such as public safety, access and availability, grounds maintenance, public amenity and development and growth.

Government advisers on climate change say there needs to be a big increase in tree planting to help cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The Chief Executive of the Woodland Trust, Darren Moorcroft, said: "The Big Climate Fightback is about inspiring people of all ages and backgrounds and providing the chance to take direct action.

"The message of trees as a solution should not be confused as the sole answer to our climate crisis. As individuals we all need to do much more to reduce our impact on the planet by cutting emissions and reducing pressure on resources."