Tree planting remains a priority as trees for babies scheme continues to branch out

News release from 15 February 2017, 5:14pm

CAMBRIDGE City Council’s trees for babies scheme has seen a significant increase in the number of people taking the opportunity to receive a free tree to commemorate the birth of their baby, for the second year in a row.

The idea behind the scheme is to promote tree planting in Cambridge and to raise awareness of the benefits that trees bring. Anyone living within the city boundary who has recently become a parent, including an adoptive parent, is eligible to apply for a tree.

The tree must be planted in Cambridge and ideally room should be found in the family garden, but if that is not possible parents can arrange for a friend, relative, nursery, playgroup, school or employer to find a place for the tree.

Parents can choose which tree they want from a range including medlar, pear, silver birch, and walnut. These have been selected for their seasonal interest, attractive features and suitability for gardens of different types.

Cllr Marie-Louise Holland, Deputy Mayor of Cambridge, took part in the scheme when her daughter, Imogen, was born in March 2005.

She said: “At that time I was delighted to learn that the council would give me a tree to commemorate Imogen’s birth to plant in our small garden.

“All I had to do was choose the species and wait until November for its delivery. Eleven years later we are lucky enough to be living in the same home, my daughter has started senior school and the winter-flowering cherry tree continues to flourish.

“Each year I look forward to seeing the delicate pinkish white blossom appear to brighten up a bleak winter’s day.”

The council aims to deliver the tree between November and February, which is the best time of year to plant. To do this trees are ordered in September, so any applications received after 31 August will be kept until the following September.

There are approximately 240,000 trees in Cambridge, growing in a wide variety of locations including woods, parks, school grounds, hospitals, cemeteries, industrial and commercial areas and streets.

There are a large number of landowners responsible for trees, including local authorities, universities, individual householders and businesses.

Cllr Anna Smith, Executive Councillor for Streets and Open Spaces, said: “Cambridge City Council is fully committed to our target of increasing Cambridge’s tree cover, as set out in our tree strategy. Our tree cover is very important. Not only does it contribute to the beauty of our city, but it brings a wide range of environmental benefits, which are especially important at a time of climate change.

“Our trees for babies scheme a wonderful project and I encourage all new parents to take advantage of it. It is one part of this strategy to grow the city’s overall tree canopy. For example, we are supporting the growth of community orchards and we also have plans to plant up to1,500 apple trees as part of the Cambridge Community Collection linear orchard.

“This will see a beautiful collection of apple tree varieties planted to link new neighbourhoods near Trumpington with the rest of the city.

“Maintaining and increasing our tree cover is not just about planting on public land, and our new communities are contributing hugely to Cambridge’s tree stocks. At Great Kneighton, some 14,000 trees have already been planted, with another 2,000 trees in Trumpington Meadows. And in North West Cambridge there are set to be an additional 1,900 trees when the first phase of development is completed.”