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New policy to boost the planting and protection of trees on public land

South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils have launched a new policy which outlines how they will protect, plant and manage trees on the land they own, and how they’ll support communities to apply to plant trees on council owned land.

Protecting and increasing tree cover will ensure that trees across our districts continue to benefit residents and our environment, and will help to reduce carbon emissions by absorbing carbon from the atmosphere.

The new Policy for Planting Trees on Council Land includes five principles which outline how the councils aim to protect, plant and manage trees on land they own through: planting, caring and maintenance, supporting biodiversity, planning and development, and community. It also clearly identifies the process for community members to plant trees on council land.

The new policy supports both councils’ priority to tackle the climate emergency, helping South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse to achieve their carbon neutral targets.  It will also support South Oxfordshire’s priority of protecting and restoring our natural world and Vale’s priority of building healthy communities. 

Cllr Catherine Webber, Cabinet Member for Climate Emergency and Environment at Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “Trees capture and store carbon and provide shade, and so are vitally important for helping us to achieve carbon neutral goals.  Beyond the many environmental advantages, they also provide great health and wellbeing benefits for everyone in the Vale community. 

“I am particularly keen on our community principle which encourages residents to get involved with tree planting projects, using our Tree Planting Guide, and ensures access to green spaces, as we work together to tackle the climate emergency.”

Cllr Ian Snowdon, Tree Champion at South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “When I put forward the motion to create the Tree Champions role for South Oxfordshire, I did so because I wanted to ensure we promoted the value that trees and woodlands have in tackling the climate and ecological emergencies, and to help guarantee their protection for future generations to enjoy.  I’m therefore very pleased that we now have this policy in place, and encourage residents and community groups to take a look at it to see how we will work to protect and plant trees going forward.” 

Cllr Peter Dragonetti, Tree Champion at South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “Trees play many important roles in protecting our environment, tackling the climate emergency, and improving our own health and wellbeing.  Planting trees, and protecting and managing our trees, woodlands and hedgerows, as guided by this policy, will help to deliver these outcomes for generations to come.”

For more information, please visit the South or Vale tree information pages.