Much-loved green space in the Westlands is one of the first areas in Newcastle-under- Lyme to officially become an Urban Carbon Capture Area (UCCA).
The Council has worked with the Westlands, Seabridge and Clayton Residents’ Association to plant 10 Cherry, Maidenhair, Maple, Oak and Whitebeam trees on land at Repton Drive.
It’s one of 60 Council-owned urban sites across the borough recently designated as UCCAs and subsequently included in an extensive tree planting programme, and other environmental enhancements, over the next and following years.
The large combined areas in this year’s planting programme – equivalent to the size of 10 football pitches – will contribute to the Council’s ambitious carbon reduction goals for generations and will also be protected as important local green spaces.
Green spaces in Clayton, May Bank, Chesterton, Bradwell, Kidsgrove and the Westlands – some of which have been under threat of development in the past – have now also been protected as UCCAs.
Council Leader Simon Tagg said: “I was really pleased to help residents plant these beautiful trees at Repton Drive. They will enhance a popular and much-loved recreational space in Newcastle in many ways, both now and into the future. The Council is responding to residents’ concerns and safeguarding urban green spaces across the borough. The UCCAs will contribute to our carbon reduction goals as part of the Sustainable Environment Strategy, adopted by this administration last year to prioritise a sustainable future for the borough. Open green spaces such as Clayton Field, The Grumbles in Chesterton and the green by Arnold Grove in Bradwell and many others will now be protected in Council policy and will provide the important urban ‘green lung’ for local people as well as contributing to the borough’s carbon offset target for years to come.
“To kick-start our commitment to UCCAs residents in some of the most urban areas will be asked to help roll-out the new and ambitious Urban Tree Planting Strategy.”
As well as Repton Drive, the latest planting phase will see proposals developed for Westbury Road in Clayton, Hanbridge Avenue in Bradwell, Winchester Drive in the Westlands and Wilson Street in Newcastle’s town centre ward. Residents can select from a range of native broadleaf trees and fruit trees including field maple, acers, silver birch, hornbeam, lime and beech with apple, pear, plum and cherry trees.
The first phase took place last year with 30 Sakura cherry trees planted at Sandy Lane, in Newcastle, and 30 trees at Newchapel Recreation Ground. The next phase takes place in the autumn and considers plans for planting on other areas of Council-owned green space.
More information about consultation with residents is available at www.newcastle-staffs.gov.uk/public-consultations
Cllr. Trevor Johnson, Cabinet member for environment, recycling and waste, added: “I’m delighted that the Council is delivering on its commitment to protect the local environment for generations to come. From small acorns, mighty oaks grow and over the coming years more and more urban areas will also be planted with trees. Tree planting is hugely beneficial. Not only does it make shared areas more pleasant and provide a habitat for wildlife, it’s one way to reduce harmful carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This will play a part in helping the Council to reduce its carbon footprint to zero as soon as possible.”
The Council’s ultimate goal is to plant at least 850 trees by 2023 to mark the 850th anniversary of the royal charter which gave Newcastle-under-Lyme its borough status. A “tree-totalizer” is available on the Council’s website showing the latest count and location. In November 2021 the Council was the first in Staffordshire to adopt a Nature Recovery motion in recognition that nature is in long-term decline and action is needed to reverse this urgently. It acknowledged that more space should be given to wildlife, existing spaces should be expanded and connectivity should be improved.
(Main image Council Leader Simon Tagg is pictured planting trees at Repton Drive in the Westlands with members of the Westlands, Seabridge and Clayton Residents’ Association).