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People urged to plant a tree to boost towns economy and improve people’s health and wellbeing

People from Burton are being encouraged to help improve the local environment and their health and wellbeing by planting a tree in their garden.

The initiative to boost the town’s tree cover follows a two–year pilot project with community volunteers who undertook a field survey of trees in the area.

While trees and shrubs in urban areas have been shown to deliver significant benefits for local communities through health, wellbeing, quality of life and the economy, Burton has a relatively low tree cover at 9.4%, which is lower than other towns and cities.

Now people have a unique chance to increase the greenery in the town by getting involved in the project and planting a tree.

Gill Heath, Cabinet Member for Communities at Staffordshire County Council said:

“We know that having trees in our towns and villages has huge benefits like reducing pollution and improving the environment for wildlife and communities.  But these benefits are often unrecognised and not appreciated.

“Thanks to our team of volunteers and the survey we now understand more about the benefits trees bring to communities and what people can do to help. For example, we now know that in Burton trees remove 23 tonnes of pollution and 722 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year.  More trees will deliver more benefits, so, if you’re interested in helping to boost Burton’s greenery, then pick up your free tree and get planting.”

John Everitt, Chief Executive, National Forest Company, said:

“As the largest town in the National Forest, Burton upon Trent should be heading the tables for tree cover figures. At only 9.4% we all need to get behind the challenge of increasing the number of trees in the town, and bringing all the benefits of urban tree planting to Burton.

“We all need trees all around us, not simply in places we go away to, to enjoy them. At the National Forest Company, we are very keen to encourage and enable tree planting in the town, and we’re delighted to support the Free Tree scheme in East Staffordshire. We hope that everyone will go along to The Potting Shed at Stapenhill to collect a tree and plant it in their garden; do also let us know of any other places where you would love to see some trees planted.”

Councillor Colin Whittaker, Deputy Leader for Cultural Services at East Staffordshire Borough Council, said:

“East Staffordshire Borough Council is fully supportive of the Burton Tree Project. Trees play an important role in people’s lives and the visual appearance of Burton. The partnership between ESBC, Staffordshire County Council, Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, Burton Conservation Volunteers and the National Forest Company in delivering the tree project is a positive step in improving the natural environment around Burton for the benefit of current and future generations.”

The Burton Tree Project is a partnership between Staffordshire County Council, East Staffordshire Borough Council (ESBC), Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, Burton Conservation Volunteers and the National Forest Company who funded it.

A full copy of the report which includes a plan on how Burton’s urban forest could be developed to maximise its benefits can be found at www.staffordshire.gov.uk/environment/Burton-Tree-Project/Burton-Tree-Project.

The official launch with pupils from Fountains Primary School will take place on Wednesday 22 November at 10am at ESBC Potting Shed Garden Centre in Stapenhill Cemetery.  People will also be able to pick up their free tree from Saturday 25 November.  For further details on the free tree scheme contact paul.steed@eaststaffsbc.gov.uk or call 01283 508385.