Free scheme returns to make National Forest district greener

Published: Thu 14 October, 2021

Image of the organisers for the Free Tree Scheme 2021, including Zoe Sewter, Woodland Communities Adviser at the National Forest Company and Jessica Lloyd-Davies, Community Focus Support Officer at North West Leicestershire District Council.

A scheme that has helped to plant more than 100,000 trees in North West Leicestershire is back for its 12th year.

North West Leicestershire District Council (NWLDC) works in partnership with the National Forest Company to make thousands of free trees available to all residents and community groups in the district every year.

The Free Tree Scheme has been running annually since 2008 and has given out 129,000 trees over the years since, except for last year when the scheme was cancelled due to the pandemic.

Four different types of trees are available this year:

  • Holly
  • Dogwood
  • Rowan
  • Bird Cherry

The trees are approximately 60cm – 90cm (two to three feet high) when they are collected.Households and community organisations such as environmental groups, allotment societies and wildlife groups can apply for up to two trees. A guide on how to look after the trees will be provided.

In previous years, the scheme has proven to be very popular and residents are pleased that the scheme has returned following a year off due to the pandemic. Comments from residents, include:

  • “Fabulous scheme. I’ve had trees in the past and it’s fabulous how much wildlife we have visiting us. Throughout lockdown the birds were a great uplifting of our mood and mental health. We could never have envisaged the effect they would have on us. Thank you so much.”
  • “I am so glad this has returned, such a great scheme.”
  • “I have some amazing trees from previous schemes.”
  • “Love it!! thank you for continuing with this scheme - I now have many trees in my garden that I would never have considered having.”

Councillor Andrew Woodman and Portfolio Holder for Community Services at NWLDC, said: “Each year, the free tree scheme continues to grow and help our district become a more colourful and greener place to live.

“We know residents were disappointed that the scheme was cancelled last year due to the pandemic so we’re glad to be able to bring it back and get the community planting new young trees.

“If you’re interested in doing your bit for the environment, we’d recommend taking advantage of the opportunity to claim a free tree and be part of a huge community effort that is helping to keep our beautiful district green.”

Louise Driver, director of operations for the National Forest Company, said: “We are always delighted to work with North West Leicestershire District Council each year, and to help grow the National Forest through the Free Tree Scheme.

“Nine million trees have been planted throughout the whole Forest over the last three decades with the help of many people, and every tree counts. Planting small, wildlife-friendly trees in gardens brings the Forest into our towns and villages, and helps everyone feel the restorative power of trees and nature as part of their everyday lives.

“Not everyone can create a woodland but planting a tree is a wonderful thing that many more of us can do. And it is one small step towards helping both the climate and biodiversity.”

People can find more information and submit their applications online at www.nwleics.gov.uk/freetreescheme2021

Applications for free trees are now open and will close on Friday 29 October.

Residents that apply for a free tree must be available for collection on Sunday 21 November.

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