The South Yorkshire Woodland Creation Partnership project led by Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust has been awarded a grant from the £6 million Trees Call to Action Fund, led by Defra, the Forestry Commission and The National Lottery Heritage Fund.
The partnership project — which is headed by Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust and includes the Woodland Trust, Forestry Commission, South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority, and all four local authorities — initially aims to help create more than 250 hectares of new woodland by 2025, working towards an overall target of 12% cover across the region by 2050.
Funding from the Trees Call to Action Fund will allow the project to expand the team in order to work with private and public landowners to help create new woodlands. This support will include help with design, permissions and applying for grants to help with the costs of the work and aftercare.
Additionally, the project will engage with local communities through training, education and volunteering opportunities whilst offering networking and engagement opportunities with landowners.
The Trees Call to Action Fund support projects which protect trees and woodlands, boost forestry skills and jobs, develop woodland creation partnerships, and engage communities with nature. The fund will distribute grants between £250,000-500,000 to be spent over three years, funding 12 projects across England.
Matt North, Woodland Creation Partnership Programme Manager at Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust said:
“It is fantastic to receive this grant and the support from the Trees Call to Action Fund.
“Through the South Yorkshire Woodland Creation Partnership project we have proven there is a demand for well-designed woodland which is resilient to climate change and diseases, and which will provide benefits for people and wildlife now and in the future.
“This funding will provide a huge boost to help us support landowners to overcome barriers in woodland creation as well as planning how we achieve a further 2650 hectares of new woodland in the region by 2050.”
Speaking of the need for additional woodlands, Matt adds: “Increasing our tree coverage is vital for several reasons, not least that it will contribute to net-zero carbon emission targets and assist with addressing the climate and nature emergencies. Well-designed woodlands help us cope with climate change by reducing flooding and improving both air and water quality.”
Recruitment of key personnel is now in progress and Matt is excited to expand the project as soon as possible, saying: “When we have the expanded team in place we will be going out and engaging with landowners as well as inviting them to express their interest in us helping them to develop their lands – watch this space!”
Other projects funded through this year’s Trees Call to Action Fund include six new Woodland Creation Partnerships across rural and urban areas; two projects to develop the skills and workforce of the trees and forestry sector; and three projects which engage people, by planting an NHS forest, engaging farmers to improve woodland condition, and restoring England’s hedgerows. All projects funded will support progress towards achieving the key objectives of the England Trees Action Plan – the Government’s long-term plans for England’s trees, woodlands and forests.
A full list of awards is available to view here.
Main image: Trees planted in the landscape. © Laurie Cambell / Woodland Trust