To celebrate Chester becoming a Queen's Green Canopy Champion City, volunteers came together to plant 360 trees at a community event in the Countess of Chester Country Park on Saturday, 15 January.
Over 40 volunteers joined The Mersey Forest, The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) and the Friends of the Countess of Chester Park group to plant a range of native trees including Oak, Birch, Hawthorn and Hazel.
The woodland will form part of the Queen's Green Canopy (QGC), a unique, national tree planting initiative to mark Her Majesty's Platinum Jubilee this year.
Chester has been recognised as a QGC Champion City, joining 13 other cities nationally, and will work with The Mersey Forest to undertake a wide range of tree planting projects across the borough, throughout the year.
Alongside the woodland planting, The Lord-Lieutenant, Lady Redmond planted a Jubilee tree on the site, before presenting a plaque to the Sheriff of Chester, Councillor Jill Houlbrook, on behalf of the Queen's Green Canopy Foundation, in recognition of the city's status as a QGC Champion City.
The Jubilee tree species is an Oak, a native species which will grow to up to 40 metres high and supports more life than any other native tree species in the UK.
The Sheriff of Chester also planted an Oak tree on the day to mark the 900th anniversary of the role of Sheriff of Chester.
The Lord-Lieutenant, Lady Redmond MBE, said: "I am extremely proud that Chester has been given this well deserved award as one of the QGC's Champion Cities. Congratulations on a fantastic plan for planting new trees and establishing new woodland within the city, as well as supporting local people to be trained in woodland creation and management; an impressive and important legacy celebrating Her Majesty's Platinum Jubilee.'"
Councillor Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: "It's great to see so many people getting involved with the tree planting at this popular local park. This site forms part of the wider Mersey Forest, which is connecting people with nature, something that we know is beneficial for our residents' health and wellbeing. As it establishes, the woodland will become a carbon store, playing an important role in helping the borough to become carbon neutral by 2045, as well as boosting biodiversity in the area."
The trees planted have been funded by The Mersey Forest Foundation. The Foundation is the charitable arm of The Mersey Forest Partnership and allows local people and businesses to donate towards tree planting across Merseyside and Cheshire.
Following the completion of the 1km long surface water drain, which will provide many future-proof environmental benefits for the city including reducing sewage outfalls into the river Dee, the new tree is one of 100 being planted by The Mersey Forest in Chester to replace the eleven trees that were felled in 2020 as part of the drain enabling works.
The Jubilee Tree species is a Amelanchier Arborea Robin Hill which will provide white spring flowers and rich autumnal colour; and will be part of a borough-wide contribution to the Queen's Green Canopy (QGC), a unique tree planting initiative created to mark Her Majesty's Platinum Jubilee in 2022 which invites people from across the country to "Plant a Tree for the Jubilee".
Chester has been recognised as a QGC Champion City, joining twelve other cities nationally, and will undertake a wide range of projects across the borough throughout the year including:
The planting of the Jubilee Tree has been sponsored by VINCI Construction UK, the Council's principal construction partner for the new surface water drain and Northgate development set to open in 2022.
Further information about the QGC is available: www.queensgreencanopy.org
Councillor Richard Beacham, Cabinet Member for Inclusive Growth, Economy & Regeneration, said: "The trees in the area around the Grosvenor Roundabout are an important feature on the skyline as you approach our city from the south. Being able to re-plant a tree in this location is a sign that the large drain construction project is finally coming to an end, and although it will take a long time to grow, this tree will one day stand tall at the entrance to our city and will be a lasting legacy of the Queen's Green Canopy."
Colin Rankin, Business Development Director of VINCI Building said: "This location is a key gateway for the city so its fitting that we will be planting a Jubilee Tree and celebrating its royal links dating back over 800 years, with the title of Earl of Chester having been granted to heirs to the throne since 1301".
Paul Nolan, Director of The Mersey Forest, said: "Planting more trees and establishing new woodlands will provide many benefits for our communities and help to lock up carbon on our journey to becoming a carbon neutral borough by 2045. Alongside our work of establishing Community Forests, we're also delighted to be able to support local people to be trained in woodland creation and management, providing them with the skills to join the industry and play their part in protecting and enhancing nature in their communities."