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Wiltshire Council secures funding to support its tree commitments across the county

Wiltshire Council has been successful in being awarded £50,000 for community orchards as part of a new Government tree planting initiative, which celebrates this year's Coronation of King Charles III.

Published 23 November 2023

Wiltshire Council has been successful in being awarded £50,000 for community orchards as part of a new Government tree planting initiative, which celebrates this year's Coronation of King Charles III.

The Government's Coronation Living Heritage Fund is a £2.5m pot that supports local tree planting projects across England.

The council has been allocated the maximum amount of money available for community orchards and is looking to allocate these funds to communities to encourage as many community orchards across the county as possible.

The fund will support the purchase of trees, protection measures and establishment costs as well as commemorative signage.  Planting will take place in autumn/winter 2024-5, allowing plenty of time to plan the orchard appropriately. Coronation Living Heritage Orchards can be on private or public land as long as there is community involvement.  The council aims to use this opportunity to develop green skills including orchard maintenance and traditional wood craft techniques, as well as to encourage orchard celebrations such as wassails and apple pressing days.

This is another positive development for the council in this area of work, which has seen a host of tree projects gather pace in 2023. They include:

  • a successful bid of almost £300,000 from Government's Forestry Commission and Defra Woodland Creation Accelerator Fund in partnership with Swindon Borough Council's Great Western Community Forest
  • dedicated team set up to provide support to landowners, community groups and local town and parish councils to deliver substantially more tree planting across the county in support of the council's aims
  • successful re-launch of the national Tree Warden Scheme in Wiltshire; this has already seen more than 40 new tree wardens take up their roles so far to act as local champions to help promote and protect trees

Cllr Nick Holder, Wiltshire Council Cabinet Member for Environment, said: "We are delighted to receive funding to help drive forward our tree planting targets. It will make a real difference up and down the county. We remain an ambitious council and when funding like this becomes available, we jump at the chance to apply as it complements the already great work we're doing in this area.

"We'll have more information on how this will be allocated in due course, but we're looking forward to working directly with communities and continuing our work of enhancing trees and woodlands throughout Wiltshire."

HM Lord-Lieutenant of Wiltshire, Mrs Sarah Troughton, said: 'I am so pleased that Wiltshire Council has been successful in securing funds from the Coronation Living Heritage Fund for local communities to plant new Orchards around the county. This is a terrific initiative honouring the Coronation of HM The King, and I look forward in time to seeing apples, pears, plums, even cherries perhaps, harvested from the orchards.'

Currently, Wiltshire has a combined tree canopy coverage of 14%. The council's long-term aim is to increase this coverage to 17% in line with national government targets, as well as meeting the council's commitments and aims as set out in its Business Plan, Climate strategy, and Green and Blue Infrastructure Strategy. More information can be found at Green and blue infrastructure.

More information about the work of the council's GAPS (Grant Application and Planting Support) team, including details on how to become a volunteer Tree Warden, can be found at Trees and woodland in Wiltshire.

Although the council's Coronation Heritage Living Fund application process is under development, it is happy to receive any expressions of interest at (opens new window).

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