A ‘Forest for Devon’ will be considered
PUBLISHED: 15:02 08 October 2019 | UPDATED: 13:03 09 October 2019
Should Devon get a new forest made up a thousands of trees?
Cornwall Council recently revealed a £30million plan to create a 20,000-acre forest as the flagship project in Cornwall Council's climate change and carbon-neutral action plan.
And Devon could be getting something similar, helping to tackle climate change. Cornwall's plan is to develop a mass woodland tree planting programme and once fully developed, the Forest for Cornwall will cover approximately 8,000 hectares (20,000 acres), about two per cent of Cornwall's land mass. Around 50,000 trees would be planted, including in streets, in hedgerows and through the creation of new woodlands and forested areas.
Cornwall Council is now preparing bids for government-supported national tree planting scheme. Councillor Rob Hannaford, leader of the Labour Group on Devon County Council, asked Thursday's full council meeting if a similar scheme be considered in Devon, further enhancing the South West peninsula's carbon neutral status.
He said it would be natural progression across the border.
In response, Cllr Rufus Gilbert, cabinet member for economy and skills, said the idea was being referred to the Devon Climate Emergency Response Group and would be included and factored into Devon County Councils climate change strategy. He added: "A net-zero task force of specialists was appointed in September 2019 to develop a draft plan by summer 2020.
"The process will involve evidence gathering through a set of hearings, each focussed on an individual decarbonisation topic, and community involvement including the use of a citizens' assembly.
"The various opportunities available for land-use to absorb carbon, including tree planting, will be considered through this process."
Hannaford said he was pleased that the climate change action board would look into the feasibility of the idea.
Thursday's full council meeting also saw the council agree to look into amending their declaration of a climate emergency to include an ecological emergency and that in light of the recent climate and ecological emergency protests, the council would consider moving its deadline for becoming carbon neutral from 2050 to a revised date of 2025.