City of York Council is creating an extensive community woodland on 78 hectares of land to the West of York with the ambition to plant 50,000 trees by 2023 as a nature based solution to climate change mitigation.
In 2019, City of York Council announced a climate emergency and have since set an ambition for York to be a net-zero carbon city by 2030. We recognise the threat of climate change and also the importance of acting now to protect our climate for the future.
Even under the most ambitious pathways, achieving net zero carbon through emissions reduction alone will be unlikely. Changing land use to offset emissions across the city is therefore an important part of the solution.
The new woodland will be a well-designed, bio-diverse, green space providing a place for peaceful contemplation and leisure for the people of York. This will create a new stray for the city, support the climate change ambition, enhance the setting of the city and make York an even greater place to live, work and visit.
The Woodland’s design has been shaped by extensive community and stakeholder engagement and will incorporate opportunities for ongoing community involvement. The project has welcomed members of the community including a local primary school this year to help sow a 7 acre community meadow which bloomed during July- August. CYC provided access to the meadow through a series of trails cut into the display allowing the public to take a close look at the flowers and bio diversity on the land including bees, butterflies, hoverflies and ladybirds.
The woodland project has also taken part in hosting York Walking Festival and York Environment Week by providing guided group walks around the site sharing the woodland vision and educating on wildlife in the area.
Engage stakeholders early within a project. This is important for gaining local support but can also produce offers of expertise that add value to the process.
Take advantage of existing networks and support structures. Partners such as the White Rose Forest have been integral within our project. Providing a level of expert insight and support required to reach milestones achieved so far.
Be clear on your objectives but flexible in your approach – there needs to be a compelling reason why you are delivering the project, but with new funding streams becoming available all the time, you need to be open to different delivery models.
Spend time early on getting the survey work complete – there are some time critical elements which if not met can cause significant delays to your project (e.g. newt surveys and breeding bird surveys).
This project represents City of York Council’s first venture in creating a large-scale community woodland. We recognise the importance of advice and partnership from experts within this field and are committed to representing the needs and requests of the city’s residents.
Modelled rate/scale of carbon sequestration.
Surveys showing percentage increase on number of people using travel routes around the site and number of people actively engaged in woodland in both volunteering and new jobs created.