Column by Steve Reade, South Gloucestershire Council's cabinet member for regeneration, environment and strategic infrastructure.

National Tree Week, which starts this weekend and runs until Sunday, December 6, feels even more significant this year. Many people are spending time outside and appreciating nature more since the pandemic began.

You may have heard about Forest Bathing, a Japanese practice that is a simple method of being calm and quiet amongst trees. The practice has been found to boost health and wellbeing, really important in these challenging times.

So I’m delighted that, to mark 2020s Tree Week, we’re working with three local tree nurseries and the Forest of Avon to promote tree planting at home, giving away 300 free vouchers so you can plant your own tree.

South Gloucestershire Council declared a climate emergency last year and we’re committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2030. Planting more trees in South Gloucestershire is part of these commitments – we’re aiming to plant enough trees by 2030 to double the district’s tree canopy to improve biodiversity and keep our local environment healthy. Trees clean our air by removing harmful carbon dioxide from our atmosphere and are essential for life on our planet; from producing the air we breathe, to giving us food to eat. Trees support wildlife, provide shade, and prevent flooding and soil erosion.

We’re planting 5,000 trees on our disused landfill site near Easter Compton in partnership with Avon Wildlife Trust. We also recently announced that Vilner Lane Wood in Thornbury has been saved from development after working with local residents – we are set to commit £25,000 towards safeguarding its sustainable future.

To achieve our ambitious target, we need to work together - we do not own enough land to plant all the trees that are needed. Why not join us? You can use your voucher to claim a tree from one of the three participating tree nurseries or opt to have a tree planted on your behalf by the Forest of Avon if you can’t plant one at home. For more information and to claim a free tree voucher visit