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Community tree nurseries project to boost local stock

22 March 2021

A new project to boost the supply of Norfolk trees will help improve local biodiversity and mitigation of climate change.

Nationally, trees outside woodlands have seen accelerating losses, driven by pressures from pests and diseases, and long-term neglect and decline.

The Boosting Community Tree Nurseries project will find ways to support existing community-led nurseries in Norfolk and establish the best ways to help new set-ups that involve the community.  The project will support nurseries to produce trees that are biosecure - stock that is handled responsibly and safely, inspected for pests and diseases regularly and for which records are kept to enable traceability.

Using locally collected seed will help retain regional genetic diversity and provide appropriate species to improve tree stock resilience.

The project, led by Norfolk County Council, could see a training hub created to provide support for communities interested in getting involved.  Other counties including Kent, Cornwall and Shropshire will be taking part in pilot projects to support this work.

Cllr Andy Grant, Norfolk County Council’s cabinet member for environment and waste, said: “The whole country has suffered huge losses of trees in recent years, partly due to diseases like ash dieback.

“Community nurseries will give Norfolk a rich supply of local, resilient trees to strengthen our environment in the face of climate change, pests and diseases, as well as offering skills and wellbeing opportunities to volunteers.”

The three-year project could tie in to the County Council’s 1 Million Trees for Norfolk initiative by providing supplies of local seeds and saplings.  Both support the Council’s ambition to achieve net zero carbon by 2030 as part of its Environmental Policy.

Boosting Community Tree Nurseries is expected to receive £250,000-300,000 in funding from a Government scheme to establish more trees outside woodlands. 

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