100,000 trees have been planted in just five months, since Suffolk County Council committed £228,000 from its Suffolk 2020 Fund to protect and encourage biodiversity in the county.

Located in the Little and Great Waldingfield area, the 100,000th tree, a field maple, is part of 6.4 miles of new hedgerow which the council has planted across a number of its farm holdings.

The council has been working closely with the farm tenants, The Woodland Trust, Giles Landscapes, The Suffolk Tree Warden Initiative and local communities to ensure that a total of 102,586 saplings have been distributed and planted in the best possible places available over this last winter.

Councillor Richard Rout, Cabinet Member for Environment and Public Protection at Suffolk County Council, said:

“Planting trees and restoring hedgerows on this scale, in such a short time period is an incredible achievement, particularly with the COVID-19 restrictions. The planting has taken place at a rate of nearly 4,500 each week.

“As part of this project, we are working with partners to ensure that these new plantings are managed and supported so that they can thrive for years to come. My genuine thanks go out to all who have been involved in making this happen – it’s been a real team effort and shows how nature can be given a chance to flourish when we work together.

“I hope that communities of insects, animals and birds will benefit from all this activity, which in turn will benefit our local communities. Although this will contribute to offsetting some of the council’s carbon emissions, our aim is still to eliminate emissions completely where we can as part of our commitment to our climate emergency declaration.”

Paul Woodgate, Woodland Trust outreach adviser said:

“It’s great to see so many trees and hedgerows being planted in this part of Suffolk. We need more trees. Not only do they look good, but more importantly they do good. They’re fantastic warriors in the fight against climate change and will also provide a haven for wildlife.

“We’ve seen a worrying decline in biodiversity in the UK over the years but schemes like this are helping to reverse that trend and we are delighted to be playing our part in supporting Suffolk County Council’s ambitions.”

Hedgerows are important features of Suffolk’s agricultural landscape, providing a habitat for many species and ‘corridors’ for wildlife to move through them. All the planting stock being used is UK sourced and grown to reduce plant health risks and improve biosecurity.

Local straw mulch is being used to reduce competition from weeds and to help retain moisture as the hedges become established. The tenant farmers will continue to maintain the hedgerows located on their land.