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Plant your tree in virtual forest campaign

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People across the region are playing their part in a virtual forest, in a bid to plant a new tree for every West Midlands resident by 2035.

Dudley Council is taking part in the joint initiative, which covers The Black Country, Greater Birmingham, Solihull, Coventry and Warwickshire, where the aim is to plant more than 4 million trees over the next 15 years.

The West Midlands Combined Authority leads on the scheme and residents, charities, schools, businesses and local authorities can plot their tree planting online.

As well as having its own tree planting programme, Dudley Council will be working with local schools, community and friends groups and other organisations to plant as many trees as possible.

Trees planted will include whips, saplings and small trees and it is hoped around 45,000 of them will be planted across the borough over the next 15 years. The local authority also hopes to bid for funding through initiatives such as ‘Trees for Cities’ and ‘Tiny Forests’.

People and businesses in Dudley borough are encouraged to play their part in meeting the target by planting trees in their own gardens and land. It is recommended that residents consider growing fruit trees such as apple, plum or pear or small trees that help to encourage wildlife such as hawthorn, elder or holly.

It is hoped that Borough tree planting sessions, where volunteers will be invited to help, will be organised in the future.

The newly planted trees will play an important role in supporting efforts to tackle climate change and improve the environment, with the website helping to chart the combined efforts of the region.

Councillor Karen Shakespeare, cabinet member for public realm, said:

The scale of the climate emergency that we face requires ambitious acts to halt the decline and tree planting is one big way in which we can help to reduce carbon.
Over the next 15 years, Dudley Council is committed to playing our part in helping to meet the targets of the Virtual Forest and I am calling on schools, charities, residents, landowners and businesses to also get involved by planting trees wherever they can.
The Virtual Forest is an online space for mapping and tracking where trees are planted. It will help our borough to measure the fantastic work that’s happening, whilst contributing to the wider WMCA target.

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands said:

The WMCA is committed to making the region carbon neutral no later than 2041, but in order to do that we are going to have to come up with bold plans to cut emissions. One of our plans as part of the #WM2041 campaign is to plant a tree for every resident across the West Midlands in our virtual forest, and I am delighted to see Dudley Council’s involvement.
But this campaign is not just about big organisations committing to planting thousands of trees, every individual has a part to play and can add any tree they plant to our virtual forest. Please visit the website and see how you can get involved to help make the West Midlands carbon neutral by 2041.

People can find out more about the project at www.WMVirtualForest.co.uk

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