In 2019 Council committed to planting 58,000 native trees in the Borough by 2023 as part of the MEA4Trees initiative. That's one tree for each household in the Borough. The project is delivered in partnership with the Woodland Trust NI and has sought to engage land owners and the community. As of 2021 just over 50,000 trees have been planted in the Borough.
The MEA4Trees initiative was officially launched during National Tree Week 2019 at an event attended by
local school children, environmental champions and community representatives at Bentra Golf Club.
As well as encouraging practical engagement in tree planting activities the programme educates residents on why trees are good for people and the environment by improving air quality by producing oxygen, storing carbon; moderating the effects of sun and wind; and cleaning the air by trapping dust, pollen and other pollutants. Trees also provide food and shelter for wildlife such as birds, squirrels and
invertebrates, as well as for people, and have been proven to increase property value and help relax people by lowering heart rates and reducing stress. More and more research is showing just how important trees are. The MEA4Trees campaign complements a number of UK wide initiatives
such as The Queens Commonwealth Canopy, One Million Trees in One Day, and the Woodland Trust's MOREwoods campaign. All trees planted are native species suitable for the chosen site.
Having almost reached the initial target of 58,000 trees. Council and Woodland Trust are now discussing another more ambitious initiative, details of which will be announced in early 2022.
Have a lead Officer to co-ordinate. Link in with regional initiatives e.g. National Tree Week, Big Climate Fight Back, to ensure good publicity for programme.
Look out for external funding opportunities.
Choose the right trees for the right sites e.g. trees that do well in wet conditions for waterlogged sites.
Percentage of tree cover across the borough.