Bradford Council is kick-starting its key climate action pledge to plant the equivalent of a tree for every primary school child in National Tree Planting Week.

As part of the extra £1m investment in climate action measures announced in January 2020, the Council has invested £250,000 to plant a tree for every primary school child in its list of sustainable goals. This means approximately 55,000 trees being planted across the district over the next two years.

The Tree for Every Child programme is being officially launched in National Tree Planting Week from 28 November to 6 December 2020. Bradford Council Leader Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe will give it a mention when Bradford features on BBC1’s Countryfile programme on Sunday 29 November.

Presenter Anita Rani, who is originally from Bradford, along with the production team visited the Canterbury Estate in Little Horton last month to look at the work being done by Bradford Council and Better Place Bradford to involve the local community in tree planting and improving the environment.

The production team spent a day on the Canterbury Estate in Little Horton to look at the partnership work between Better Place Bradford, Bradford Council and Groundwork to engage residents in tree planting and creating greener spaces. The Festival of Trees initiative involved the Better Place Bradford team offering free trees and shrubs to residents to plant in their gardens. During October half term, a total of 146 small trees were planted in people’s gardens, 37 large trees in Horton Park Primary School field and Horton Park and four large trees outside the ARC community centre.

Sunday night’s programme will include an interview with Glyn Levis of Trees for Cities, a charity which works to connect urban populations with nature, cultivate lasting change and deliver the multiple benefits of urban trees for today’s and future generations.

Schools and community groups were invited to register an interest in taking part in the project last month and so far over 40 have responded. They were given a range of options as to how they could get involved including helping to plant in two new dedicated woods in the district; starting a school orchard; being given a bundle of native trees to plant in the school grounds or receiving some trees to take away to plant in the garden.

A number of organisations will support the project. They include Trees for Cities, Forest of Bradford (Bradford Environmental Action Trust), Woodhouse Community Growers, town and parish councils and other community groups.

A programme of other tree planting events across the district has been set up for the week.

Planting trees is a major factor in tackling climate change a single tree can absorb 22kg of carbon dioxide per year and 100 square metres of woodland can store nearly four tonnes.

Cllr Sarah Ferriby, Portfolio Holder for Healthy People and Places, said: “Trees have multiple benefits to our environment whether it’s the scientific facts about their storage of carbon or their enhancement of our surroundings. So National Tree Planting Week gives us a chance to celebrate this and to increase their numbers in our district. We are grateful to all the local community organisations who so enthusiastically get involved in planting trees in their areas.”

David Elliott Chief Executive of Trees for Cities said: “At Trees for Cities, we believe that everything that we do today should be delivered through a generational lens. This fantastic initiative in National Tree Week to plant 55,000 trees over the next three years – one tree for every child – will act as a beacon to enable and inspire a new generation of individuals and communities to plant, protect and promote urban trees in Bradford.

“We know that deep and lasting change can only be made if tomorrow’s generation is involved and inspired to take action today. We would like to thank the players of the People’s Postcode Lottery for funding this programme that will bring communities together and create vital green spaces for future generations to enjoy.”

Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council, said: “We were delighted that the programme chose to film in Bradford. It gave us a fantastic opportunity to share some of the work going on in our district to bring greener, cleaner environments to our communities. A great deal is being done to reduce carbon emissions and encourage people to do their bit for a more sustainable future. But tree planting is something everyone can see and understand, and it provides multiple benefits.”

Gill Thornton, Programme Manager Better Start Bradford said: “We are thrilled that the programme were there to film our project Better Place Bradford planting 187 trees in the community, and to highlight the role that they are playing in a combined effort to improve the quality of outdoor spaces in our area of Bradford.

“The tree planting took place in Little Horton and as part of the Festival of Trees and the Council’s ‘Tree for Every Child’ campaign. These campaigns are such a wonderful way to get people involved in the important role that trees play in our communities, helping to improve air quality and to house nature.”

Funding for a tree for every child comes from The Dulverton Trust, The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund and The Arbor Day Foundation. As well as The players of the Postcode Lottery.

Tree planting and A Tree for Every Child are one of a number of measures Bradford Council is taking to tackle climate changes and reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2038.