Final designs and operational plans for the city’s new Community Woodland will see 50,000 trees planted by spring 2023, increasing to 80,000 after, to develop the natural landscape which will be free for residents and visitors to enjoy. Next steps for the woodland project include planting 17,500 trees and creating the main pathways, starting in November 2021.
The 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 Executive Member for Climate Change and Environment is also set to confirm Forestry England as the delivery partner for York Community Woodland at a Decision Session next week (8th September). The partnership will see Forestry England spend £2milion to develop and manage the woodland, with the Council retaining annual income and control through a management board.
Future plans for the area, outlined in the new report, include:
- cycle paths
- play areas
- sensory gardens
- wooded areas
- wildflower meadow
- commercial area
- forestry school
In July 2020 the Council joined the Government’s Northern Forest initiative, which aims to plant 50 million new trees across the north of England. The new woodland will see the Council support and demonstrate local leadership in creating a sustainable natural environment. The project will also be presented at the COP26 summit as an example of proactive local work supporting environmental sustainability.
Councillor Keith Aspden, Liberal Democrat Leader of the Council, commented:
“I’m delighted to see this project take the next major steps, with the first 17,500 trees taking root in the coming months, eventually reaching 80,000. York Community Woodland will benefit the city and its residents for centuries to come, boasting health and wellbeing benefits as well as promoting green jobs and increasing local biodiversity.”
Cllr Paula Widdowson, Executive Member for Environment and Climate Change, added:
“Following our continued investment in public transport, electric charging infrastructure and home insulation, the plans to develop a major new woodland are progressing at pace. The new community woodland is a flagship scheme in our efforts to make York an even greener and cleaner city for generations to come.
“As well as providing health and wellbeing benefits to the community, this woodland will create valuable habitats for wildlife and store carbon in the trees we grow.”