Forest For Cornwall
The first trees in the Forest for Cornwall project have been planted near Saltash. This was a project I was proud to announce and promote when I was in the Cabinet.
The Woodland Trust has praised Cornwall Council for taking a lead with its ambitious climate emergency project the Forest for Cornwall which was officially launched with the help of residents, schoolchildren and volunteers on 17th December.
They came together at Tincombe, Saltash, to plant the first trees of the Council’s carbon-reducing programme to cover 8,000 hectares of land across Cornwall with woodlands, forests and other canopy cover over the next decade.
Cornwall councillors Edwina Hannaford, Cabinet Member for climate change and neighbourhoods, and Rob Nolan, Cabinet Member for environment and public protection, led the planting with the help of pupils from five Saltash schools, Saltash Town Council, the Woodland Trust, Cormac, Cornwall Council staff and representatives from partner organisations, charities and businesses.
The celebratory planting marks the start of the flagship Forest for Cornwall project which will significantly increase the number of trees across woods, parks, farmland, towns, villages and gardens, forming a key part of Cornwall Council’s plans to help Cornwall become carbon neutral by 2030.
Once completed, the programme aims to extend canopy cover over an additional 2% of Cornwall’s total land area and capture 1% of Cornwall’s current greenhouse gas emissions, working alongside other natural climate solutions to draw carbon from the atmosphere.
The saplings planted were a mixture of native trees including oak and beech donated by the Woodland Trust and non-native species such as gingko and damson supplied by Cornwall Council to ensure diversity and resilience to threats such as climate change and disease.
Addressing the volunteers, Ross Kennerley, Woodland Trust South West Regional Director, said: “Across England and the south west I would say Cornwall is in the lead for having the ambition at a county level to create a woodland for the benefit of people, wildlife and the climate. You are here in the lead on a very important day at the start of a significant project and I congratulate you all, particularly those who have come from school today.
“The Woodland Trust is really pleased to be supporting this partnership. Our focus is simple – Cornwall rich in trees and woods. We want to protect woods and manage them for people and wildlife and we particularly want to create new woodland by planting new trees.”
Cllr Hannaford paid tribute to everyone who turned out to help contribute to Cornwall’s natural solution to climate change.
Cllr Hannaford said: “It’s an ambitious project but with lots of help, like everyone here today, we will be able to significantly increase the number of trees and hedgerows to help absorb and lock-down carbon emissions towards helping Cornwall become carbon neutral.
“I would like to applaud Saltash on what you’re already doing and hope you will join us in the call for other community groups, landowners, local councils, charities, schools and individuals to get involved and help make a difference for Cornwall by planning their own tree planting events.”
The Mayor of Saltash Town Council Councillor Gloria Challen said: “The town of Saltash is honoured to be part of the first phase of the tree planting of the Forest for Cornwall.
“Saltash has an incredible community and I am proud to see so many people here today so we can start to make a change to Cornwall becoming carbon neutral by 2030. On behalf of our community I would like to thank the team for delivering this project.”
The environment team from Cormac supported the volunteers in planting the trees as well as supplying tools and equipment.
The Forest for Cornwall is Cornwall Council’s first, large-scale project to get under way as part of its Carbon Neutral Cornwall programme which was approved by Cabinet in July in response to the climate emergency.
Other key schemes are a Government-supported whole-house retrofit pilot to fit energy efficiency improvements to Cornwall Council homes; a new, climate change planning document to promote renewable energy including the commitment to power all new homes with alternative sources to gas; and a new decision-making framework to prioritise environmental and social benefits in all Council policies.
More information on the Forest for Cornwall and how to get involved is at www.cornwall.gov.uk/forestforconwall.