Tree challenge begins with a tribute to Cheltenham’s response to Covid pandemic
Published on 9th March 2021
A lasting tribute will be paid to the victims and heroes of the Covid-19 pandemic as Cheltenham begins a tree challenge.
Work has begun on an initiative that will help the borough meet its climate emergency goals while remembering all who we have tragically lost to Covid-19 and those who have so selflessly supported the pandemic response.
The Forestry Commission’s Urban tree challenge project has delivered 1,000 mixed native small trees to be planted over three areas, at Manor Farm in Up Hatherley, Springfields Park in Hester’s Way and Cirencester Road open space in Charlton Kings.
Springfields Park is the largest of the three areas and will become home to 500 new trees. For this reason it has been dedicated as a woodland space to commemorate all those we have so tragically lost to Covid-19, and those who have so selflessly supported the pandemic response.
The variety of small trees to be planted include: Beech, Bird Cherry, Oak, Hawthorn, Whitebeam, Rowan, Blackthorn, Hornbeam, Hazel, Crab Apple, Scots Pine, all native to the British Isles and will give interest, maximise the benefits for clean air and are beneficial to wildlife and insects.
Cllr Max Wilkinson, cabinet member for climate and communities, says: “The past year has been a tough time for all of us. While there has been a huge amount of sadness, like so many others I’ve been humbled by Cheltenham’s response to Covid-19. There are so many heroes, including the NHS workers and teachers going beyond the call of duty, food bank volunteers helping feed those in need and good neighbours looking out for one another.
“The pandemic has also brought into sharp focus everyone’s need for access to nature and a healthy environment too. I’m pleased that we can mark the sacrifices made by so many with an initiative that will help achieve that. I’m also delighted that our hardworking council team is able to be part of the effort after a year of working so hard to keep our parks in good condition during the pandemic.”
Adam Reynolds, green space development manager said: ‘’We are thankful that the Forestry Commission has funded this activity. Once in place these trees will be a great addition towards our carbon zero ambition and will also have huge environmental benefits for pollinators and other wildlife.”
A commemorative plaque will be installed, likely in Sandford Park recreation ground, where planting of more spectacular ‘landmark’ trees is under consideration for the autumn near to the boules court and hospital.
King George V playing fields and Cox’s Meadow open spaces have also benefitted from work by the Cheltenham Tree group, with 50 small oaks recently planted in Cox’s Meadow and around 20 small mixed native trees in King George V.
The borough council declared a climate emergency in 2020 and has an ambitious target of becoming a carbon neutral town by 2030. Tree planting will form one strand of work. For more information on the council’s climate emergency work, visit the council’s website: www.cheltenham.gov.uk/climate-emergency and for more information about trees in Cheltenham, visit the trees webpages.
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