Oxfordshire County Council offered £150,000 in government funding to create green jobs and increase tree cover

£150,000 in funding has been allocated to identify opportunities to deliver tree planting across the county

Oxfordshire County Council will receive £150,000 in funding from the Government’s Woodland Creation Accelerator Fund to kickstart tree planting activity by creating new green jobs to identify opportunities to deliver tree planting.

The Woodland Creation Accelerator Fund has offered a share of £9.8 million in funding to 57 local authorities across England to bring on board new staff and access the professional expertise needed to drive tree planting and woodland creation activity at a local level.

More than 100 new green jobs will be created across the country, with an emphasis on upskilling professionals from outside the forestry sector. This will help to expand the industry’s workforce, address skills shortages and help to grow the economy.  

Oxfordshire County Council will create two new community tree and woodland planting roles as part of its collaboration with Oxford City Council and Cherwell, South Oxfordshire, Vale of White Horse and West Oxfordshire district councils. The two new recruits will work to increase tree cover through training volunteer groups and further engaging the local community in woodland creation activities.

Councillor Pete Sudbury, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environment, said: “We know we need to play catch-up with the increasing impacts of climate change. One of the most versatile and effective ways of tackling many climate impacts, including heat, storm, heavy rainfall, and soil erosion, is planting trees.

“Understanding and agreeing what trees to plant, and where, is a high priority of all Oxfordshire’s councils and the money from this joint bid for funding will allow us to do that as rapidly as possible.”

Richard Stanford, Chief Executive of the Forestry Commission, said: “Local authorities have set out a range of inspiring and ambitious plans which equate to more than 10 million trees being planted on public land across England by 2025. The Woodland Creation Accelerator Fund will provide the support and resource needed to turn these aspirations into results, marking a significant step forward in our collective efforts to treble planting rates in England. 

“Growing both our treescapes and the forestry sector workforce through this fund demonstrates how protecting and restoring our natural world with trees can unlock environmental, economic and social benefits for everyone.”  

Hannah Bartram, Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport, said: “The Woodland Creation Accelerator Fund is set to make a real difference, supporting local authorities to accelerate their tree and woodland planting plans and helping to tackle the climate change and biodiversity crises. 

“The fund has been well received and demand has been high – it will support local authorities across the country, equipping them with the new staff, skills, and expertise needed to drive tree planting and woodland creation commitments.” 

Over two thirds of upper tier local authorities in England applied for the Woodland Creation Accelerator Fund, representing a blend of urban, mixed, and rural applications. Planting will take place across the country, in both deprived areas with lower tree cover, as well as through ambitious schemes expanding existing woodlands in rural settings.

Since the fund’s launch in June, an additional £2m has been made available through the government’s £750m Nature for Climate Fund in response to the high level of interest in the grant, the quality of proposals submitted and the recognised need for support.  

The Woodland Creation Accelerator Fund has been promoted by the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning & Transport (ADEPT), on behalf of DEFRA and the Forestry Commission. ADEPT will continue to support the successful local authorities over the next two years. 

For more information, go to Woodland Creation Accelerator Fund on GOV.UK or read the Forestry Commission’s blog 

Click Sign up to hear from us and receive the latest news and updates thanks to our fortnightly newsletter, Your Oxfordshire.