EVERY YEAR: 70 football pitches worth of land to be covered with trees
Council chiefs plan to convert more than 120 acres of council-owned land into woodland every single year for more than two decades, according to a document set to be discussed next week.
It follows an announcement in February 2020 from then-leader of the council Judith Blake that 1,250 hectares of woodland would be created over the next 25 years.
The latest document from council officers claims £2.4m is being made available over the next four years to plant 50 hectares – the equivalent of 70 football pitches – of trees each year.
It stated: “The climate emergency declaration has acted as a catalyst to intensify action and develop ambitious plans to plant more trees and create more resilient habitats that benefit pollinators and alleviate flood risks.
“This is being done in a way that improves the recreation value of those who visit and contribute to health, wellbeing and social cohesion.”
The report claimed to show examples of how parks and green spaces are already helping to address climate change issues – these included “relaxed mowing” on council parklands.
It added that in future it should look again at its children’s play areas, as damage caused by weather conditions increases costs for traditional play equipment such as swings and slides.
The document stated: “Warmer, drier, summer conditions will increase the need for more shelter and shade around play. Potential actions to address these issues include changes in materials to improve drainage, play areas with more natural play features and locating play facilities in areas of shelter and shade.
“People in Leeds are passionate about their local parks and green spaces and the climate emergency declaration has already sparked considerable interest from community groups keen to make a difference in their local area.
“This enthusiasm is being harnessed with education packs for teachers, opportunities for seed collection and using volunteers for tree planting.”
The report will be discussed at Leeds City Council’s climate emergency committee on Monday, September 13.
Words: Richard Beecham, Local Demcoracy Reporter
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