Want to help the environment? Join a tree planting drive in East Suffolk
PUBLISHED: 12:27 04 March 2020 | UPDATED: 12:27 04 March 2020
East Suffolk Council has launched a drive to plant more trees across the district by providing land for towns and parishes.
The authority is encouraging volunteer groups, town and parish councils to consider tree planting projects, and is making available land it owns which would be suitable for planting.
It comes as one of the first measures to address climate issues since it declared a climate emergency last year, pledging to be carbon neutral by 2030.
MORE: Environment task force formed at East Suffolk
James Mallinder, Conservative cabinet member for environment at the council, said: "Trees are essential in our fight against climate change as not only do they absorb carbon, they can help to reduce pollution levels and prevent flooding.
"Native woodland also provides a haven for wildlife.
"Planting trees is a small but hugely effective way for communities to make a difference and we want to encourage people to get involved.
"It is however essential that planting takes place in appropriate locations, meaning the trees can be properly cared for and giving them the best chance of reaching maturity."
Mr Mallinder said it was about "empowering people" to take ownership of their communities and hoped it would create a "lasting legacy" in the district.
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It follows the council's first measure since declaring a climate emergency, which was to pilot a reduced grass cutting programme in Saxmundham and Southwold. That scheme could be rolled out further if it proves successful.
The environment task group set up in the wake of the climate emergency has been forming a host of recommendations, which has already included work on a business case developing solar panels at its base in Melton, provision of electric vehicle charging points and adopting more electric vehicles to replace traditional motors in its fleet.
Mr Mallinder added: "It's quite hard with the environment to have practical policies that aren't just chasing targets, but I really do feel that small change can make a big difference over time.
"We are trying to develop the environment as a thread through all policies - it's about making sure the environment is as important a factor as financial impact and impact on residents."
MORE: Reduced grass cutting planned for East Suffolk
Louise Gooch, environment spokeswoman from the council's Labour group said: "The cross-party group is making progress in shaping an agenda which will improve sustainability and environmental protection both at council and resident and business level.
"I welcome the tree initiative, and look forward to addressing carbon neutrality within our housing stock, both social and private."
However, some concerns have been raised over the speed of progress for environmental measures being brought in.
Graham Elliott, leader of the council's Green group said: "I welcome the progress being made by the council in addressing the climate emergency but have concerns over the speed of this progress.
"I'm not sure that it is sufficient to have quarterly meetings to address an emergency.
"I am also concerned that there is a continued obsession with growth and insufficient emphasis on behavioural change."