Lack of trees and land creating ‘challenge’ for Nottinghamshire woodland projects

A lack of trees, foresters and land could affect the latest phase of a Nottinghamshire County Council plan to plant up to 250,000 trees across the county by 2027.

Members of the county council’s transport and environment committee were given a presentation by the authority’s conservation team which also included an update on the 30-year-old Greenwood Community Forest project.

The project has been contracted to create 250 hectares of new woodland as part of the Trees for Climate programme, establishing new accessible greenspace for local communities, new habitat for wildlife, and capturing thousands of tonnes of carbon.

The Trees for Climate project, which is funded by Defra, delivering woodland on its own land, other local authority land and private or community sites is a five-year national programme.

Last year, the project saw the establishment of a new 4.9 hectares woodland, with more than 4,400 trees planted.

But in the current year two, the plan has expanded to include the planting of 60 hectares of woodland in Rufford, Bestwood, Daneshill, Vicar Water and Calverton.

But council conservation team manager Heather Stokes told the committee that the authority faced “some interesting challenges”.

She said: “The push to plant more trees has resulted in a shortage of foresters, as we discovered when we tried to recruit them. Land availability is also a challenge because there are other pressures on that land and just procuring the number of trees we require is proving to be interesting.

“Finding planting contractors is also challenging because they are planting trees all over the country. But we are looking to potentially buy a 40 hectare piece of land, purely for tree planting.”

Ms Stokes praised the large number of volunteers who are involved in planting but said experts were needed to oversee them.

Although an “awful lot” was being done, she said: “It’s not enough and a lot more needs to be done.”

Conservative councillor Mike Adams, of Carlton East, said that it was a “phenomenal” tree planting programme with 31,000 trees for Bestwood Country Park.

He said: “Do we have active partnerships with colleges and the universities locally to source expertise and volunteers?”

Bestwood Country Park
Thousands of trees being planted at Bestwood Country Park
(Image: Google)

Ms Stokes said that places offering forestry courses were limited but added: “We are advertising a job for a woodland creation assistant apprenticeship currently.”

Committee chairman Neil Clarke, Bingham West, thanked the conservation team for its report and councillors voted to consider the information to inform any future reports and to reaffirm its support for Nottinghamshire Biodiversity Action Group, which has been mapping species to inform nature recovery work.

Also under the spotlight at the meeting was a highways update report, which is ongoing, and will include a visit by councillors to an open day at Bilsthorpe Depot.

But a spat between Independent councillor Tom Hollis, Sutton West, and Mr Clarke led to the meeting being adjourned for more than 10 minutes to diffuse the situation.

Mr Hollis had accused Mr Clarke of not allowing independent councillors to speak and had advised him to seek legal advice on the issue.

The matter was not alluded to directly when the meeting was resumed.

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Nottinghamshire Live – Local News