Why we need to plant more trees in South Cambs
Woodland areas are good for wildlife, good for biodiversity, good for climate change, and good for those who just want to enjoy the countryside. Unfortunately, South Cambridgeshire has fewer trees than almost any other area, and Cambridgeshire as a whole has just a quarter of the national average. I am committed to encouraging tree planting projects and pushing for plans to restore nature as we build back greener from the pandemic.
I was also shocked to discover that 94% of new trees planted alongside the new A14 had perished - a figure the County Council disputes. I have written to the responsible authorities to ask how this has happened, what will be done to deal with it, and what monitoring/enforcement measures need to be put in place to ensure it never happens again. I have also made the Secretary of State aware and will look to ensure that biodiversity net gain is maintained on all local infrastructure projects.
So far, I have
- Hosted meetings with the Minister for Trees, to better understand how we can promote tree planting in South Cambs
- Met with campaigners and pressure groups, including:
- the Wildlife Trust
- the RSPB
- the Countryside Trust
- Cambridge Past, Present, and Future
- the Woodlands trust
- local residents, landowners and farmers
- Publicised tree planting sessions run by local groups
- Campaigned to highlight the shocking perishing of thousands of trees alongside the A14, including meeting with ministers and writing to the relevant authorities
- Helped at tree planting days and volunteered to plant trees myself, including:
- joining the large group of around 300 volunteers who turned up to help plant thousands of new trees at the Dernford Reservoir
- tree planting at Wandlebury Country Park with James Littlewood, CPPF Chief Executive
For a start, I have planted quite a few trees! But more importantly, I am ensuring this continues to be top of the Government's agenda as a former Chairman (now Vice-Chairman) of the All Party Parliamentary Group on the Environment. I was glad to see the Environment Secretary set out plans to restore nature and build back greener from the pandemic, including trebling tree planting and halting species decline by 2030.