Council plans mass tree planting programme across Cardiff
Alex Seabrook, local democracy reporter
New trees will be planted in Cardiff across an area the size of 1,500 football fields over the next nine years.
Mass tree-planting is due to start this November in a new ‘Coed Caerdydd’ project.
This will see new trees planted in parks, on streets, and new woodlands created in Cardiff. Some diseased and dying trees will also be replaced.
Planting trees is a key part of Cardiff council’s plan to combat climate change, as trees can absorb carbon dioxide, remove harmful pollutants from the air, and prevent flooding.
Currently Cardiff has 2,658 hectares of canopy cover: about 1.4 million trees. By 2030, the project is aiming to increase this by about a third, with an extra 839 hectares of tree cover.
More than £1 million will be spent over the next three years on Coed Caerdydd, including funding from Natural Resources Wales, the Woodland Trust and the Welsh Government.
The mass tree-planting project is expected to get cabinet approval on Thursday, May 20, alongside other important updates on Cardiff’s wide-ranging plan to get to carbon neutral by 2030, known as ‘One Planet Cardiff’.
Councillor Peter Bradbury, cabinet member for culture and leisure, said: “Tree planting will be at the heart of our One Planet Cardiff. The council already plants thousands of trees every year, in the region of 2,400 in the last planting season.
“But the start of our mass tree-planting programme later this year will push these figures into a different league as we look to plant more than 800 hectares of new woodland in Cardiff.”
Council experts are already looking at where these new trees could be planted, including on land owned by the fire service, health board and police force. This land might also be used for improving biodiversity or growing food locally. 50 hectares have already been identified.
Many of the new trees will be grown locally at a ‘tree nursery’ in Forest Farm, near Whitchurch. This will propagate saplings to be planted elsewhere in the city, reducing the need to ship in trees from elsewhere. Eventually, the nursery will produce 5,000 trees a year.
Opposition councillors have previously criticised the Coed Caerdydd project for not focusing enough on protecting current trees from being chopped down, including in the Northern Meadows in Whitchurch and Flaxland Woods in Gabalfa — both set for development.
Other concerns have been raised about the council leasing land in Splott to developers planning to build a biomass power plant. This would burn virgin timber from Latvia, shipped to Cardiff, for electricity. Biomass is linked to deforestation in eastern Europe and the USA.
As well as planting trees, the council is exploring where small parcels of land could be used for new tiny parks or allotments for growing food.
Cllr Bradbury added: “Making Cardiff healthier, greener and wilder isn’t going to happen overnight, but we’re making progress.
“As well as planning for a massive expansion in the number of trees we plant, we’re continuing our work to identify land that can be used by communities to create ‘pocket parks’ and growing spaces.”
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This is great news, but the critiques are really important too. Biomass plant in this day and age? Importing virgin timber from Latvia is a terrible thing to do and should be stopped at all costs.