Thursday, 20 June 2013 19:58

Last funding round opens for Big Tree Plant

The sixth and final round of funding for a national campaign that aims to plant one million trees by 2015 has opened and organisations have until 30 August 2013 to apply.

The Big Tree Plant encourages people and communities to plant more trees in England's towns, cities and neighbourhoods. So far, the campaign has committed to plant almost 965,000 trees with around 475,000 already planted. An extra 35,000 are needed from this final round in order to hit the one million target.

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Grant recipients, The Plymouth Tree Partnership, celebrate their project. Image credit Plymouth Tree Partnership

The trees should be planted in places such as parks, streets or community spaces where local people will benefit from them. Around 70 per cent of the trees in the programme are being planted in England's most deprived areas.

Funding is available to any community and voluntary group, or other non-profit organisations that are keen to establish a community-led tree planting projects. Groups working in deprived areas where trees would help to improve residents' quality of life are strongly encouraged to apply.

Launched in 2010 by the Government, the £4 million campaign is being delivered through the Forestry Commission and the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) with support from a number of partners including the Tree Council, Trees for Cities and the Community Forests.

Mark Durk, policy advisor at the Forestry Commission, said: "The scheme has been hugely successful with more than 95 per cent of the trees committed. This final round of funding is the last chance for organisations to take advantage of the programme and help make their neighbourhoods more attractive, sustainable and healthy places to live. There's plenty of time to submit applications and we would encourage groups to get in touch and find out more about the project."

Big Tree Plant trees are creating new copses, supporting wildlife conservation, helping to reduce flood risk through riverbank planting and helping to cool cities by reducing temperatures.

The programme has attracted a wide variety of organisations including wildlife trusts, community farms, volunteer groups and urban regeneration projects.

Jamie Gargett, Havant Borough Council's Arboriculturalist, said: "The Tree Warden network has worked extremely hard to gain an incredible amount of funding. The project will enable a wide variety of people and groups from diverse backgrounds to benefit from the grant scheme and become involved in maintaining and enhancing the borough's heritage of magnificent trees."

Roger Turkington, Trustee of the Stradbroke Charitable Trust, said: "With one of the lowest levels of tree cover in the country and widespread intensive farming in Suffolk, we wanted to redress the balance. The project is good for wildlife, the local community and helps increase woodland cover in Britain, which is very low compared to the rest of Europe."

In order to be eligible for funding, the trees need to be planted in neighbourhoods where people live and work, the project should involve the local community, the trees must be cared for in the future and the landowner will have given permission for the planting to go ahead.

Applications should come from a group or organisation that represents the interests of the local community. The tree planting need to be completed by end of February 2015.

Around £4 per tree is awarded through the scheme and applicants will need to identify at least 25 per cent of the total cost of their project from other sources. This 'match' funding can be in cash or in kind.

Help is at hand for anyone who would like to talk through their project and there is plenty advice available for anyone considering applying via the advice phone line 0800 856 7984.

More information is also available at

Additional Info

The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment.  Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive, woodlands.  Further information can be found at

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