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Woodbridge Town Council withdraws from Earthwatch 'Tiny Forest' scheme

26 October 2020

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The Woodbridge Town Council Climate Emergency Committee had been in discussion with Earthwatch for several months and had allocated £10,000 from its budget to the Tiny Forest project.

A Woodbridge resident, interested in the project, raised concerns with us about the way in which Earthwatch raises its funding. Substantial income is generated from companies which are very actively involved in anti-climate activities.

These include Royal Bank of Canada, which is a very significant provider of investment lines to the tar sands oil extraction industry. They also include Royal Dutch Shell, which actively and secretly funds anti-climate lobbies.

Climate Committee Chairman Eamonn O’Nolan said: “After carrying out our own research we came to the conclusion that our aspirations are out of step with those of Earthwatch. We will now look at other ways of achieving the same dense-planting goal.”

The Climate Emergency Committee recommended to the Full Council that we withdraw from the proposed agreement, and this has been communicated to Earthwatch Europe.

Withdrawal from the Earthwatch partnership does not compromise the Council’s ambitions to press ahead with urban tree planting and green veining the town. The Council remains fully committed to greatly increasing the number of trees in the town. As part of the town’s developing Green Veining initiative, the tree planting programme will provide much needed benefits and ecosystem services for the town, including carbon capture, mitigation of the impacts of climate change, improved air quality, amenity & human well-being, and nature gain benefits , which have been lost to development over the decades.

Tiny Forests are very densely-planted, with typically 3-5 saplings per square metre. This produces forests which grow ten times more quickly, and which are eventually 30 times more dense than new plantations established using more conventional methods. The dense planting technique is believed to mimic more closely natural regeneration processes, and in so doing, encourages greater biodiversity, higher resilience, and greater carbon sequestration and storage.

Green Veining, in this context, describes the process of restoring, recovering and building opportunities for biodiversity in urban landscapes. Recent initiatives to recover and increase nature benefits in towns and cities have employed IUCN’s nature-based solutions – including urban rewilding. The Woodbridge Green Vein Project has clearly defined objectives that are mapped against the Town’s Climate Action Plan and the Government’s target, making space for nature. They include restoring previously lost wildlife corridors for bats and other mobile species. By joining up islands of vegetation in a structured way, biodiversity increases. With the involvement of the Community, back-garden space is integrated into the veins, along with council-owned parks and open spaces. It also involves the wilding of verges, and the mown areas in public parks. There is a real opportunity through the green veining initiative to embrace the Government’s commitment to make available 30% of land and water for nature, that could be 30% of existing green infrastructure together with voluntary commitments from private landowners and the local community.

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For further information please contact;

Mayor of Woodbridge, Councillor Sue Bale
councillorbale@woodbridge-suffolk.gov.uk 01394 385562

Deputy Mayor of Woodbridge, Councillor Eamonn O’Nolan
councilloronolan@woodbridge-suffolk.gov.uk 07770 786419

To download the press release as a pdf please click here.