SCHOOLS and communities in south Devon are being encouraged to make New Year a positive one – by planting trees.

Just days away from the application deadline closing, the Woodland Trust still has 300,000 trees up for grabs as part of its free trees scheme.

Groups can use the trees to bring benefits including boosting nature, combating flooding, providing shelter and reducing pollution.

Steve Shill, senior project lead in woodland creation at the trust, urged people to apply now.

He said: ‘This is an amazing opportunity for any schools and communities to do something really positive for the New Year. 

‘Tree planting is a great way to involve lots of people and get out planting can boost mental and physical health during these dark winter months.

‘It only takes a few minutes to apply and these trees could bring several lifetimes of benefits.’

Mr Shill said there are many reasons applications could be down, including country returning to normal after COVID.

But he added: ‘Trees are essential in our fight against climate change and research shows that more trees have a direct, positive effect on people’s health. 

‘The UK needs millions more trees to reach its 2050 carbon net-zero target. By digging in with us, you'll help bring us nearer this important goal. Don’t miss out.’

The Woodland Trust scheme delivers hundreds of thousands of free trees twice a year for planting in spring and autumn. 

Millions of trees have been planted across the country over the last few years. 

Tree packs come in packs of 30, 105 or 420 trees and in different varieties to suit their purpose from hedging, copse, for wildlife or wild harvest.

Applications for free trees close on Monday January  8 2024.