500 new hectares of woodland for Havering, Barking and Dagenham and Essex in 2021

Thames Chase Trust

More trees are to be planted at Thames Chase. - Credit: Thames Chase Trust

Woodland in Havering, Barking and Dagenham and parts of Essex is to benefit from £12.1million towards 500 hectares of new trees by March 2021.

In the next three months, Thames Chase Community Forest will be one of the 10 of the community forests across the country planting trees, in a push to help deliver the government's commitment to increase tree planting to 30,000 hectares per year, across the UK, by 2025 alongside peatland restoration and nature recovery.

In total, the trees to be planted across winter 2020 and into 2021 will eventually store more than 100,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide and will also help in making local landscapes more resilient to the impacts of climate change.

The delivery programmes will offer a wide range of added benefits, unique to community forestry, including community engagement. 

These new "climate-combatting" woodlands across England will appear around towns and cities and will also build the pipeline of projects for community planting in future years. 

The funding will also create new jobs and secure existing ones within the forestry sector and open up new opportunities for people seeking a career in the environment sector, Thames Chase says.

Dave Bigden, consultant forest director for Thames Chase Trust, said: "The creation of new woodlands, combined with the increase in management of existing woodlands, will bring significant improvements in the recreational, amenity and biodiversity values of Thames Chase Community Forest.

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"It will continue and expand the work we have been delivering with our partners since the inception of the forest in 1990."

Forestry minister, Lord Goldsmith, said: "Trees are the backbone of our urban and rural environments and essential in tackling the climate emergency. This vital programme will plant trees where they are most needed to stem flooding and provide more places for nature to thrive."

Extensive planning is already under way to ensure Trees for Climate starts to be delivered during the current tree planting season, which began in November and runs until March. More than 6,000 hectares of land has already been identified as suitable for planting, over the next five planting seasons to March 2025.