TREE wardens are returning to Wiltshire thanks to a grant of almost £300,000.
A successful bid for the £294,800 from a Government fund by Wiltshire Council and Swindon Borough Council means the national Tree Warden scheme will be relaunched in the county.
The money comes from the Government’s Forestry Commission and Defra Woodland Creation Accelerator Fund, which aims to provide financial support to bring on board the additional professional expertise councils need to drive tree planting and woodland creation commitments.
The Tree Warden Scheme is a national initiative led by the Tree Council, and Wiltshire Council is looking to recruit volunteer Tree Wardens in each Wiltshire town and parish area as well as across the Borough of Swindon.
Tree Wardens will work with Wiltshire Council Woodland Officers and act as tree champions who help plant, promote and protect trees in appropriate locations.
Projects that Tree Wardens can be involved in could include:
• Arranging local tree planting days
• Watering and caring for local trees
• Working with the local authorities and community groups to plant and care for street trees
• Rejuvenating local woodlands
• Raising funds and finding land for tree planting projects
• Going into local schools to talk about the value of trees
Cllr Tamara Reay, Wiltshire Council portfolio holder for climate change, said: “We’re delighted to have been successful in receiving this funding, which we can use to help us achieve our ambitious tree planting targets, while also promoting the enhancement of existing trees and woodlands – all key themes in our Natural Environment Plan.
“We need to take action to ensure our future generations can continue to enjoy the beauty that Wiltshire landscapes have to offer.
“Tree Wardens are local people who are keen to plant, look after and stand up for the trees in their local area.
“The role is voluntary, so anyone who is interested can decide how much time they dedicate to it and how it fits in with their normal routine.
“You do not need to be an expert to take up this role, as we will provide knowledge and training, all you require is a genuine interest in trees and the local environment.”
Anyone interested in taking up the role in their area can find out more at www.wiltshire.gov.uk/trees-and-woodland-in-wiltshire, or by contacting either their local parish council or the Woodland Grant Application and Planting Support (GAPS) team via GAPS@wiltshire.gov.uk.
The funding for Wiltshire Council and Swindon Borough Council will also be used to help deliver tree planting targets over the next two years that will see planting of 111ha of trees in 2023-24 and a further 222ha in 2024-25.
The councils said they anticipated most will be delivered through community and private landowner initiatives, working with partners such as the Woodland Trust, and Forestry Commission to develop bids for funding.
For more information or to express an interest, people should contact Wiltshire Council via the GAPS Team at GAPS@Wiltshire.gov.uk.
More information about the Government fund can be found at www.gov.uk/government/news/new-fund-opens-to-accelerate-tree-planting.