Truss praises role of trees in improving neighbourhoods as planting programme tops one million

The government's Big Tree Plant has reached a milestone of one million trees planted in urban areas over the past five years.

Image: Robert Cutts
Image: Robert Cutts

Defra minister Elizabeth Truss is today (5 February) marking the occasion by planting the millionth tree, an oak, in Bristol's Eastville Park.

The event is also being attended by Tree Council director general Pauline Buchanan Black, Forestry Commission chair Sir Harry Studholme, the city's first elected Mayor, George Ferguson, staff from tree services provider Gristwood & Toms, and local schoolchildren.

Launched in 2010, the Big Tree Plant, led by Defra with the Forestry Commission, has provided £4 million in grants to volunteer groups to pay for planting and caring for the trees. Nearly £7 million in match funding has been pledged by partner organisations.

Half the trees have been allocated to the most deprived neighbourhoods or those with the least green space.

Truss said: "Trees are an essential part of the healthy environment that is so important for quality of life and well-being. That's especially true in areas which don't have much greenery."

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