A new Community Forest to bring transformational change to Plymouth and South Devon

The creation of Plymouth Community Forest has been announced today by Defra, England’s Community Forests and Plymouth City Council; the first newly created Community Forest supported through the Nature for Climate (NFC) Fund.

Urban Tree Planting – photo Chris Parkes Photography

The Plymouth and South Devon Community Forest will stretch from the heart of the city to the edge of the moor, encompassing 1,900 hectares of land to form a mosaic of different forest habitats.

Plymouth Community Forest will join England’s Community Forest network, and become the 11th Community Forest across the country. It will receive up to £480,000 in funding through Trees for Climate; the Community Forests programme that is supported through the NCF fund.

The new community forest will develop canopy cover across the city and plant up to 500ha of woodland by 2025, which is expected to more than treble in size to 1600ha by 2034

The new community forest will develop canopy cover across the city and plant up to 500ha of woodland by 2025, which is expected to more than treble in size to 1600ha by 2034. Plymouth will plant up to 25ha in Yr.1 of this project.

Plymouth Community Forest will also benefit the area economically, environmentally and through improvements to local people’s health and wellbeing. 353 jobs will be created in the first ten years, including apprenticeships across a broad range of roles. The extra trees will increase capture carbon/Co2 by 83% from current levels once fully established, helping the Plymouth area in its mission to become carbon neutral by 2030. The health benefits of the new green spaces are estimated to equate to around £5.7 million per year.

The project also supports Plymouth City Council’s Plan for Trees scheme, which aims to help trees in urban areas become fit for purpose, resilient to the challenges of climate change and disease, and adaptable to whatever new challenges the future may hold.

Urban Tree Planting – photo Chris Parkes Photography

This exciting new project is being funded by the Government as part of its pledge to deliver 30,000ha of tree planting across the UK by the end of this Parliament; part of a drive to see tree planting rates treble in England in the same timeframe. England’s community forests will make up over 6,700ha of the planting aspirations.

This project is the first of three Community Forests to be created in areas most at need.

Forestry Minister Lord Goldsmith said:

“I am delighted to welcome Plymouth and South Devon Community Forest to the Community Forest network. Joining this network will enable Plymouth and South Devon to receive key support from the Nature for Climate Fund through Trees for Climate funding to plant trees and help rewild areas that are most in need. The health and wellbeing benefits are some of the most important reasons we need to be making more space for trees.”

Paul Nolan, Chair, England’s Community Forests said:

“We are really pleased to welcome Plymouth into the Community Forest family. England’s Community Forests have been transforming the landscapes and communities in and around our largest towns and cities for 30 years. In that time, we have always been committed to sharing the powerful principles of community forestry as widely as possible so millions of people can experience the many benefits of trees and woodland. Today’s announcement marks another exciting chapter in the story of community forestry across England and for the area of Plymouth and South West Devon.

“Plymouth Community Forest will create space for nature, encourage enterprise and support the area’s commitment to tackle climate change. Joining the powerful partnership of 10 established Community Forests across the country will support these ambitions, enabling local people and partners to achieve truly transformational environmental and social change.”

Councillor Patrick Nicholson, Deputy Leader of Plymouth City Council, said:

“We are thrilled to be joining the Community Forest family and excited for the many benefits that it will bring Plymouth and the surrounding area. 

“The forest chimes a chord with so many of the aspirations we’re trying to achieve economically, environmentally and for health and wellbeing here in Plymouth and I’m excited to get started on the next stage.”