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More than 50,000 trees are to be planted in urban areas of England, with 13 projects given the green light. The government’s Urban Tree Challenge Fund will see each scheme receive a share from a £10million pot.

The Conservatives made a manifesto pledge to plant up to 75,000 acres of trees annually by 2050, but Labour’s environment spokesman, said billions of trees actually needed to be planted by 2050, not the millions projected by the government.

Recipients include projects in Cornwall, London, Manchester and the North-East of England, with more than 22,000 large trees and 28,000 small ones to be rooted in the first round of the Urban Tree Challenge Fund.

Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers said, “the trees would help combat climate change and unite urban dwellers with nature”.

The declaration comes days after Ms Villiers was tackled by critics, who said many more new trees were needed than those proposed.

Ms Villiers said she hoped a £640m nature for climate fund would “deliver a massive uplift in tree planting”.

But Ms Villiers said, she was determined to “massively” step up planting, after Shadow Environment Secretary Dr Alan Whitehead said the government was missing its target of planting 11 million trees by 2050 by 71%.

By 2021, the Government aims to have planted 130,000 trees across England, with the government pledging to plant 30,000 hectares of trees a year across the UK by 2025.

The Green communities benefitting from the first round of the project:

  • Greater Manchester – Various schemes in high density areas to reduce noise and air pollution and provide shade and cooler temperatures
  • London – 6,938 street trees across 202 council wards in 20 London boroughs
  • Merseyside – Improving access routes into the Mersey Forest network of woodlands and compensate for trees lost to diseases
  • Middlesbrough – 10,000 trees with eight of the 16 sites alongside roads
  • Slough – Trees to be planted in streets and housing estates to improve air quality and protect against flooding

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