THIS year’s upcoming tree planting season will mark the fifth season that Devon County Council has been running its Free Tree Scheme.

As part of National Tree Week, which began on November 25 and runs to Sunday, December 3, Devon County Council will be handing out a total of 50 “free tree packs”, each containing 45 native broadleaved trees, to landowners and communities who successfully applied to the initiative.

It is the third consecutive year that the County Council has received support for the scheme through the Emergency Tree Fund granted by The Woodland Trust.

However, Devon first piloted its Free Tree Scheme in 2019 and by the end of this winter the number of trees planted across the county thanks to the scheme will reach 15,750.

When combined with all trees planted in Devon with the help of Emergency Tree planting, the figure rises to more than 27,800 trees.

The project is enabling private landowners, as well as town and parish councils, to plant trees to help tackle the Climate Emergency, contribute towards carbon net zero targets and support nature recovery.

Alongside its Free Tree Scheme, Devon is also planning for around 10,000 trees to be planted in the county this season through community planting schemes with the help of local not-for-profit social enterprise ParkLife South West.

To register interest in volunteering to help the tree planting co-ordinated by ParkLife, email: [email protected] or visit: .

Councillor Andrea Davis, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environment, said: “It’s a great achievement for our Free Tree Scheme to head into its fifth winter planting season.

"It’s really been made possible with the support and co-operation of the landowners and communities who have taken part, volunteers who have helped with planting, and of course the Woodland Trust for granting us its Emergency Tree Funding for the past three years.

"The project has had a tremendous impact in increasing the number of trees and woodlands across the county, but we need to continue to do more to make a bigger difference.”

Ross Kennerley, South West Regional Director for the Woodland Trust, said: "The aim of the Emergency Tree Fund is to support councils with their tree planting ambitions. The free tree giveaway is one example of how this can be achieved.

"Tree planting is important as a method to combat climate change but it also provides valuable habitat for wildlife and we are pleased that there has been an excellent response from landowners and parishes to plant trees across the county."

To find out more about the Emergency Tree Fund please visit the dedicated webpages: .

Information on sources of funding and other support, along with advice on how to plant in the right place with the right tree, is available on the Devon Local Nature Partnership website: .