National Tree Week, which we are currently in the middle of, is the UK's largest annual tree celebration and marks the start of the winter tree planting season. Trees are the most incredible solutions to climate change; providing oxygen and storing carbon to improve air quality, conserving water, and supporting wildlife.

Earlier this year, South Gloucestershire Council declared a Climate Emergency and committed to becoming net zero by 2030. This is by no means an easy feat, and while we are looking forward and thinking modern by exploring new technologies and approaches to make steps, it is always important to go back to basics, and look to nature for that extra helping hand.

The council is in the process of commencing its first tree planting phase of a three-year project, which will result in around 15,000 tree whips being planted in public open spaces.

In working with the Woodland Trust, who are providing the trees, we aim to promote the many benefits tree planting can have on health and wellbeing and have worked over the summer to identify the best locations on Council-owned public open space to plant the trees in the first year, with, among other areas, 1,400 tree whips being planted in both Thornbury and in Chipping Sodbury and Dodington.

As the planting programme comes to an end for the first year, we will look to other communities and other areas where years two and three will take us, but in the meantime a further 1,000 trees will be made available for Parish and Town Councils to plant on their own land. Publicly owned land is only a modest proportion of all land and so we are also working with private landowners and encouraging them to support more tree cover.

The battle to increase tree cover is a collective effort. If you want to take part, you can by pledging to plant a tree at