Climate commitment branches out

North Oxfordshire is set to become a greener corner of the world, thanks to the council’s commitment to planting up to three million trees.

Published: Monday, 2nd March 2020

On Monday, 24 February, a meeting of Cherwell District Council voted through a cross-party motion to double tree cover in the district by 2045.
The ambition will see Cherwell seek to plant the millions of trees on up to 3,000 hectares of land, working with private landlords and other community and public sector partners. 
Cllr Dan Sames, Cherwell’s lead member for clean and green said: “Along with our commitment to slash our emissions and become a carbon-neutral council by 2030, tree planting is a key part of our approach to tackling climate change.
“Historically, with its farming tradition, Oxfordshire has fewer trees than the national average. We want to change this and reduce the gap.
“A Cherwell with more trees will be a more pleasant place for the people who live here, and one which does a better job at securing the long-term future of our climate for future generations.”
Strides have already been made on tree planting in the district in recent months, with the planting of 30,000 trees at the DCS Woodland in Banbury Country Park almost complete, and the 100-acre Burnehyll Community Woodland, between Chesterton and Bicester, also being prepared for planting.
Trees reduce the environmental effects of burning fossil fuels by absorbing the CO2 which causes global heating. The motion acknowledged that tree planting is beneficial not only to the climate, but to mitigate the impact of future development, in providing habitats for wildlife and by aiding flood management. 
The motion, which was proposed by Cllr Hugo Brown and seconded by Cllr Sean Woodcock, commits the council to seek and secure funding from Government for tree planting. It also reiterated the council’s commitment to requiring developers to protect and enhance biodiversity through tree planting, as they build new homes, commercial buildings and infrastructure.  
This follows the council’s commitment, made in October, to seek 10 per cent net biodiversity gains through the planning system. The decision follows a similar commitment by Oxford City Council, while Oxfordshire County Council will vote on a similar motion on 31 March.