06 January 2021
Central Bedfordshire Council’s sustainability plan1 makes provision for planting a million trees by 2030., to help absorb carbon, reduce pollution, and help wildlife. Trees and shrubs can welcome shade in summer, and help reduce flooding.
Now CBC needs to know where to plant them! Can you think of a space where even a single tree or shrub could be planted? Perhaps there is a small patch of mown grass, or a corner of a field near you, where there’s room for a tree or shrub, or a small group of them. NB It’s important not to choose anywhere that’s already a good carbon sink, like established pasture, or anywhere that’s important for wildlife.
A motion was passed by Central Bedfordshire Council in February 2019 to set aside £1.68 million for tree and shrub planting, to combat climate change and support birds, butterflies and other insects.
Shrubs like guelder rose, dogwood and spindle can be really useful for biodiversity, and their much smaller root systems cause fewer problems than larger trees in an urban area. Hawthorn trees are small, but they support so much wildlife: “Common hawthorn can support more than 300 insects. It is the foodplant for caterpillars of moths, including the hawthorn, orchard ermine, pear leaf blister, rhomboid tortrix, light emerald, lackey, vapourer, fruitlet-mining tortrix, small eggar and lappet moths. Its flowers are eaten by dormice and provide nectar and pollen for bees and other pollinating insects. The haws are rich in antioxidants and are eaten by migrating birds, such as redwings, fieldfares and thrushes, as well as small mammals. The dense, thorny foliage makes fantastic nesting shelter for many species of bird.” (https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/trees-woods-and-wildlife/british-trees/a-z-of-british-trees/hawthorn/)
Community groups can apply for a grant for planting trees and shrubs – details here: https://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/info/42/stronger_communities/678/community_grants/4#:~:text=About%20our%20tree%20grant%20fund,November%202020%20to%20March%202021).
However, if you don’t belong to a group and you see an area near you that is crying out for shrubs or trees, and you could find enough people to help water the plants over the first couple of years as they get established, do contact South Beds Friends of the Earth (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we’ll help put you in touch with people at Central Bedfordshire Council who can help. Or you could contact Cllr Victoria Harvey, who seconded the motion and is working closely with officers to deliver the project.
Box on page 17 – “1 million trees planted by the Council by 2030”