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Great Parish Tree Giveaway went down a tree-t!

| District

The recent South Somerset District Council Great Parish Tree Give Away has seen an amazing reaction from local parishes with over sixty parishes taking up the offer of receiving 50 free trees from the council to plant in their Parish.

Last December, we reached out to Parish Councils all across South Somerset inviting them to take part in the Great Parish Tree Giveaway and take up the opportunity to each receive 50 free trees to plant in their parish. 

An incredible total of 61 parishes took up the offer and last week visited SSDC’s Lufton Depot to collect their selection of various species of trees.

The success of this project means that by the end of March, over 3,000 trees will have been planted across South Somerset that which will contribute to enhancing the overall local environment and help towards our aspiration to increase our tree canopy cover. Not only has this been a hugely successful environmental project, it has also proved to be a brilliant engagement initiative between the local authority and parishes.

Whips have been provided to the Parish Councils, which if managed as advised, will grow at an amazing speed and develop into superb specimens in time. Mature trees have not been provided because these will already be capturing carbon where they are, so planting them in a new location would not make much of a difference.

To make a real difference, we need to grow new and more trees so by planting whips and taking care of them, these will grow into mature trees.

READ MORE: There's a Climate Emergency and we need you to have your say at the Yeovil event.

SSDC has been amazed at the response and has received some really positive feedback from Parish members, including:

  • “The whole Parish is delighted to extend the greenery!”
  • “Our Parish really appreciates them. Keep up the good work!”
  • “This has been a great idea as our villagers are definitely thinking about trees and planting more trees around and about.”
  • “It has really aroused interest, so thank you to SSDC for this initiative.”
  • “Fantastic service!”

Councillor Sarah Dyke, SSDC’s portfolio holder for Environment, said: “This was a really great initiative and the huge take up by local parish councils shows that there are lots of people out there who care for our environment. Increasing our tree canopy is important for the environment and this is a great way of meeting one of our aims of our Environment Strategy.”

South Somerset District Council’s Living Environment Officer, Joshua Bennett, added: “The reception we received for the Great Parish Tree Giveaway has been amazing, with parishes requesting hundreds of more trees. We see this as an opportunity for parishes to engage their communities in the local environment, whilst also enjoying the various benefits trees have to offer!

“We are very grateful to all the parishes that have been involved with the scheme and the communities that were involved with the planting. Based on the success of this scheme, we hope to roll out the scheme annually dependent on funding.”

The Great Parish Tree Giveaway is just the beginning of a broader collaboration between SSDC and Parish Councils. SSDC is also running a recruitment drive to sign up local environment enthusiasts and experts to be volunteer Environment Champion’s for their community which will help them pull from the wealth of local knowledge within our communities, and allow for improved and increased collaboration between the parishes. If you would like to be your local Environment Champion please get in touch at

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