The Council’s Executive has today approved proposals for a new community woodland to be created, which could see 50,000 trees planted by 2023. This the latest step in the administration’s efforts to improve York’s air quality and move towards becoming carbon zero by 2030.
Earlier in April new research had revealed that York’s air quality had seen significant improvements during lockdown. This follows a positive long-term trend that has seen carbon emissions decrease by 37% over the last 13 years. York Liberal Democrat Councillors are continuing to invest in measures and initiatives, which would help not only retain the environmental benefits of lockdown but also aid in the administration’s ambitious plan to become zero carbon by 2030.
The new woodland, being developed as a part of the Northern Forest initiative, will see the council supporting and demonstrating local leadership in creating a sustainable natural environment. The new wooded area will serve as a new green space for the city, increasing the amount and quality of diverse habitats for our wildlife and improving the city’s air quality, with the woodland acting as a carbon sink absorbing some of the emissions produced in York. The Northern Forest also provides a link into the funding opportunities available, potentially including the costs of land purchase, planting and maintenance and assistance in making bids for these funds.
Cllr Paula Widdowson, Executive Member for Environment and Climate Change, commented:
“Throughout lockdown we have all seen the major improvement in air quality in the city. With people returning back to pre-lockdown habits and car usage, it now more important than ever to build on the momentum and continue investing in initiatives and measures, which would help improve air quality in York for the benefit of our communities.
“I am delighted to see that following our continued investment in public transport, electric charging infrastructure and home insulation, the Council Executive has approved the plans to progress with the development of a major new woodland.
"This will bring us closer to achieving our broader aims of making York a greener, cleaner and more sustainable city. Our successful cooperation with partners in the Northern Forest initiative also puts us in a position to apply for central government funds which may pay for most of the land and support the cost of planting the trees. Whilst this is another major step towards our carbon reduction aims, the plan also provides new green space, which will support the wellbeing of our city’s residents for generations to come.”