The Urban Tree Challenge Fund (UTCF) is a £10 million government fund for planting both large and small trees in and around towns and cities in England. The fund is being delivered by the Forestry Commission, as part of their work to expand woodlands and tree cover across England.
City of Trees has been co-ordinating the bid for Greater Manchester in partnership with the ten districts and registered housing providers.
In total over 2,500 trees will be planted across the city region including 650 small sapling trees and crucially just over 1,900 large, high impact trees.
Where will they be planted?
The vast majority of the trees will be planted by March 2020, with locations including Ordsall Park in Salford and Stretford Meadows in Trafford.
The larger trees will be over 2 metres in height and will take root in parks and green spaces across the City region including Queens Park in Bolton, St Mary’s Park in Bury, Wythenshawe Park in Manchester and Denehurst Park in Rochdale.
They will also be planted in grass verges by roadsides and in residential areas across Bolton, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Manchester, Trafford and Oldham.
Last year charity City of Trees undertook the largest physical i-Tree survey of trees outside the United States to better understand the extent, function, and value of Greater Manchester’s urban forest.
The ‘All Our Trees’ survey found that Greater Manchester’s 11million plus trees lock up 56,530 tonnes of carbon and produce 122,450 tonnes of oxygen each year.
The data from ‘All Our Trees’ was used to provide justification for the need for tree planting especially large trees which deliver much greater benefits.
All Our Trees: Greater Manchester’s tree and woodland strategy will be published in March and also includes recommendations for managing woodlands to boost biodiversity and create homes for wildlife especially species in serious decline.
Andrew Western, Green City Region Lead for the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), said: “The environment in Greater Manchester is central to our daily lives – from the air we breathe to the water we drink and the green spaces in which we spend time. That is why it is crucial we not only protect and maintain what we have but enhance our natural resources.
“It’s great to see City of Trees leading the way on trees and woods in Greater Manchester. Planting more trees – especially in urban areas – is vital to the health and wealth of the city-region. This significant funding helps us to deliver on our commitments within our 5 Year Environment Plan to secure a green, clean city-region.”
Jess Thompson, Director at City of Trees comments; “This is terrific news for Greater Manchester and the first time we have secured funding at this scale for large urban trees”.
She adds; “The data gathered as part of ‘All Our Trees’ shows the crucial role trees play in combating climate change and ensuring the city region is more resilient for the future”.
Ian Gambles, Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission said: “I am delighted that City of Trees has been successful in its bid to the Urban Tree Challenge Fund.
“These trees will benefit the people of Greater Manchester for years to come, improving the physical and mental health of all – including those in deprived areas. Trees in urban areas also help to reduce noise and air pollution and combat the effects of climate change.”
The new trees will also form part of the Northern Forest, an ambitious initiative to plant 50 million trees, stretching from Liverpool to Hull, within 25 years.