A programme of tree planting has been taking place at Council-owned sites across Calderdale, with support from local schools and businesses.
National Tree Week takes place each year in late November/early December, marking the start of the winter planting season.
To support this initiative, the Council facilitated the planting of 300 trees on the boundary of Park Wood Crematorium in Elland, to help attract wildlife. The Council’s Cabinet Member, Cllr Scott Patient and Council staff were joined by staff and 50 pupils from years five and six at Siddal Primary School, along with representatives from the construction group John Sisk & Son.
The trees planted were a mix of Hawthorn, Hazel, Bird Cherry, Rowan, Guelder Rose and Blackthorn.
The work is part of a major planting scheme linked to the A629 Calder and Hebble phase 1b project, which will also see over 100 semi-mature trees planted on site, together with a new wildflower meadow. In addition, a native scrub and willow habitat will also be created between the new roundabout junction to Stainland Road and the Calder and Hebble Navigation canal.
Children taking part in the Park Wood planting were enthusiastic about their efforts, with comments such as: 'I love getting mud on my hands', 'I want to plant more trees', and 'It's really nice working outside'.
On Wednesday 29 November, the Council also hosted a tree planting event at Beacon Hill, Halifax with volunteers from Lloyds Banking Group. Over 1600 trees were planted, as part of a project to plant a total of almost 2000 new trees on this site. Tree planting schemes have taken place on Beacon Hill throughout history, with most of the trees seen on the hillside today planted as part of various programmes during the 20th century.
The latest tree planting increases woodland cover and is important in helping Calderdale progress toward the White Rose Community Forest targets. The White Rose Community Forest is one of 10 community forests across England with the aim of increasing the involvement and connection of local communities with the planning, planting and management of trees and woodland in North and West Yorkshire.
The work forms part of the Council’s commitment to plant more trees around the borough on Council land, with additional work taking place with landowners to encourage planting on privately owned sites. It is also part of the Calderdale Climate Action Plan, which highlights the importance of tree planting and ensuring that the right trees are planted in the right places to support the borough’s existing biodiversity.
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Action, Active Travel and Housing, Cllr Scott Patient, said:
“I was delighted to go along to support the tree planting session at Park Wood, the children worked really hard, and it was great to hear some of the positive comments as the young people really felt the benefits of being out in our beautiful natural environment.
“Our efforts to plant more trees is part of the Climate Action Plan for the borough. Trees are climate superheroes: as they grow, they absorb and store the carbon dioxide driving climate change. They also make an attractive addition to the landscape, support our local wildlife and encourage biodiversity.
“In line with the White Rose Forest Action plan targets, we’re planning to increase local tree canopy cover by more than a third, planting the right tree species in the right locations. This is great news for residents across the borough and for the wildlife that will benefit too!”
Lucy Aaron, Head teacher at Siddal Primary School, said:
“We were delighted to be asked to help in this event, I am sure that the children will look at the trees growing over many years and take pride in the contribution they made.”
Sisk managing director Dominic Hodges said:
“Sisk is delighted to support our client Calderdale Council with this important project by donating both time and resource to enhance and protect important locations.”
The Calderdale Climate Action Plan is a three-year strategy that sets out the action that needs to be taken in Calderdale before 2026 to set us on our path to a Net Zero future.
The Council is working on the A629 Calder and Hebble phase 1b project in partnership with its contractor, John Sisk & Son. The full phase 1b project is due to be completed by summer 2024. Some elements will be open earlier.
The A629 Calderdale and Hebble Phase 1b scheme has received over £28 million funding through the West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund, and the Leeds City Region Growth Deal – a £1 billion package of Government investment through the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), delivered by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority to accelerate growth and create jobs across Leeds City Region.