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Plant a Tree .. But leave space to plant food crops, too!

March 14, 2020 11:33 AM
By Cllr Linda Johnson

Tree (publicdomainvectors.org) facebookThe Government's plans to plant millions of trees between Liverpool and Hull and into the north of England to help combat climate change by absorbing thousands of tons of CO2 at a cost of £500m is to be applauded, but not when those trees might need to be planted on farm land to reach the target!

The East Riding of Yorkshire is one of the least-tree'd counties in England, but its rural nature also makes it one of the most prolific for growing crops. Only 7% of the county is built environment, with 90% actively _farmed, producing both arable and animal products.It also grows various oil seeds and renewable crops for energy production, pharmaceuticals and ropes.

Much of the other 3% of the land is protected landscape, especially across the Wolds and along the coast, with rich biodiversity and which, itself, acts as a carbon sink. In contrast, neighbouring Hull is almost entirely built-up.

Last year, 65,000 trees were planted across Hull and the East Riding with another 35,000 due to be planted this year. However, increasing tree coverage from 2% to a target of 10% will be difficult. Planting more wooded areas will also change the biodiversity of the area as well as requiring active management, which is not a core skill-set of too many of East Yorkshire's farming population.

At the moment, the East Riding of Yorkshire Council is looking carefully at where it can plant more native trees, asking parish councils, schools and private land-owners to consider whether they can plant a few within their boundaries. But it might be that the Northern Forest is more sparsely-populated in East Yorkshire than elsewhere as farming food takes a precedent._

Cllr Linda Johnson
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson on the Environment
East Riding of Yorkshire Council

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From GLD Challenge Magazine 2019-20