The dream of planting a million trees across Bradford district is now halfway to being a reality, thanks to 15 years of hard work by an army of volunteers.

Green-minded charity the Forest of Bradford began the planting scheme in 1998 and details of its success are revealed in a report to next week’s meeting of the Bradford Council’s environment and waste management overview and scrutiny committee.

And FoB has now joined with the authority’s own Climate Change Unit and Trees and Woodland department to create a digital map of all the planting so far.

Ian Butterfield, project manager for FoB, thanked all those who had wielded spades and helped reach the running total of 500,000 trees.

He said: “Thousands of adults and children have taken part in this great effort across the district – it’s been amazing. None of this could have happened if people didn’t volunteer, either as clubs, schools, residents’ groups or as individuals just getting together.

“The Forest of Bradford began back in 1996 when a few people thought “wouldn’t it be great if there were more trees in Bradford? It just goes to show what can be achieved.”

One of the first projects was tree planting above Canal Road which is now part of Bolton Woods.

He said with the threat of new invasive diseases it was vital to keep restoring forests with fresh growth.

“Most of the planting we do is with native breeds such as oak, birch, hazel and holly so we get a good mix of woodland and hedgerows.”

Now the plan is to create a detailed aerial map using GPS co-ordinates of all the successful planting which will be viewable on a new free website.

And a third phase later this year will add private woodland to the database.

Mr Butterfield said the Forest of Bradford were optimistic the next 500,000 trees would be planted swiftly.

He said: “The support is certainly there to get the last half a million in a lot quicker.”