Waterways charity will plant thousands of trees in spring

A charity that protects around 2,000 miles of waterways in England and Wales will be planting 21 football pitches’ worth of trees this spring.

The Canal and River Trust will plant 14,000 trees over the coming weeks in order to create a green space. “green corridors”Wildlife that faces the twin threats of climate change and habitat loss.

The programme, funded by a £150,000 grant from the People’s Postcode Lottery, will see volunteers plug gaps in hedgerows and establish news woodland, the charity said.

It is hoped that the new trees, once established will absorb approximately 5,500 tonnes each year of carbon dioxide.

One in eight people don’t have access to private outdoor space. Our canals have become everyone’s back yard.

Richard Parry

Hazel, hawthorn and blackthorn are some of the species that will be planted.

There will be larger trees, such as hundreds of oak, wild cherry and silver birch trees, as well common alders.

Key wildlife can be linked by canals “islands”The charity stated that urban sprawl is putting more pressure on them and that thousands of traditional hedgerows have been lost.

These man-made waterways may provide food, shelter, and passage for birds, bats and other small mammals.

Richard Parry, chief executive officer of the Canal and River Trust said: “Built to move goods and materials in the Industrial Revolution and still used by record numbers of boats today, canals have also become vital wildlife highways across England and Wales.

“The trees being planted will be enough to cover 21 football pitches, however by targeting the planting to create continuous hedgerows and transform unloved areas into woodlands and orchards, the total benefit will be much greater than the sum of its parts.”

Tree plantingStudents plant trees at Harecastle Tunnel, Trent and Mersey Canal (Canal and River Trust/PA).

The trees will also be planted on old dredging tips – piles of earth from canal and river dredging, at reservoirs and added to existing woodlands and along riversides across England and Wales.

Mr Parry continued: “With one in eight people not having access to private outside space, our canals have become everyone’s back garden.

“So, in addition to being vital for wildlife and their ongoing role for boats, the woodlands and orchards that we’ll be creating, with the help of volunteers, will be peaceful places for local communities to spend time, with the mental and physical health benefits that being close to water and nature bring.

“The planting also represents a step change in moving to offset all residual emissions in helping to tackle climate change, with the trees predicted to absorb thousands of tonnes of carbon.

“We all have a role to play in working towards net zero.”

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