Call for land to support nature recovery

Councils call on local landowners to help them increase local tree coverage and improve biodiversity

Two Suffolk councils are calling on local landowners to help them increase the districts’ tree coverage and improve biodiversity.

To mark this week’s National Tree Week, Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils, working with the Woodland Trust, are calling for land which could be planted on or improved for nature.

Of particular interest, is land of less agricultural value, near or next to land that may already be good for wildlife (woods, wetlands, meadows, heathland), or that can help join up other existing habitats, helping wildlife move more easily through the landscape. 

It comes after the councils were the first rural authorities to commission a full tree canopy survey of their districts in 2021.

The survey identified that on average just over 10% of Babergh and 8% of Mid Suffolk is covered by trees.

The aim is to increase coverage in both districts to a minimum of 15%, to support the councils’ climate change and biodiversity ambitions.

Both councils are already actively planting more trees and changing the way they manage open spaces on the limited land they own. 

However, local private landowners – such as farmers, community organisations, individuals, and businesses, play a key role in reaching the areas’ target coverage.

Land can be better adapted to benefit wildlife, through planting more trees or hedgerow, or by introducing or restoring wildflower meadows or new habitats.

By working with a range of organisations, including the Woodland Trust and Suffolk Wildlife Trust, the councils can offer support and advice about:
•    what to do to get going
•    funding to bring ideas to life
•    materials and labour
•    how to manage new habitats, or even generate new income from it through possible habitat bank and carbon offsetting opportunities

Those with available land can register their initial interest by emailing the councils' biodiversity team.

Cllr Tim Weller, cabinet member for environment, culture, and wellbeing at Mid Suffolk District Council, said: 

“We’ve been proactively working with the Woodland Trust over the last few months, to look at ways we can work with our local landowners to help increase tree coverage in Mid Suffolk. Something which is key in tackling climate change and biodiversity loss locally.

“It can be hard to know where to start or what funding is available, so by providing support and advice to local private landowners we can help kickstart more biodiversity improvements in our patch.

“Regardless of whether you have ideas for your land or are keen to do something but aren’t sure where to start – please register your interest with our biodiversity team so we can help!”

Cllr Daniel Potter, cabinet member for environment at Babergh District Council, said:

“Private landowners play a key role in increasing the tree coverage in Babergh. 

“We are doing lots of planting on the limited land we own and want to support others to be doing the same wherever possible to help us tackle climate change and biodiversity loss locally.

“Whether you’ve got a ready-made idea for your land, or not a clue where to start, please register your interest so we can help with advice and support.”

Ben Green, external affairs officer at the Woodland Trust, said:

"In Babergh and Mid Suffolk, trees play a vital role in stabilising soil, producing oxygen and creating havens for wildlife.

“They quietly shape our world, offering inspiration and a breath of fresh air. Imagine life without them – barren and challenging.

“We're reaching out to communities and landowners in Babergh and Mid Suffolk, encouraging you to be a part of planting trees for a greener future. 

“With our support, both financial and advisory, we're here to help you make a meaningful contribution to this lasting and important cause."

Babergh and Mid Suffolk councils call on landowners to support nature recovery