COUNCILLORS are to be given an update on ambitious plans to plant 20,000 tress at numerous sites across the district over the next year.

Underused and “hard to mow” areas of parks, recreation grounds and even parts of Ilkley Moor are sites being eyed as possible new woodland sites.

And the Council is asking any landowners who want to take part in the planting scheme to come forward.

Proposals to afforest large swathes of the district will go before the Council’s five area committees in the coming weeks, starting with the Keighley Area Committee on Thursday.

Members will be told that the planting scheme will link to two national schemes. The Northern Forest is a push to plant 50 million trees between Liverpool and Hull over the next 25 years. And the Urban Tree Challenge Fund is a government scheme to plant new trees in cities and towns.

Work begins to plant new trees

Recent tree planting schemes have included at the former Riddlesden Golf Club.

Members of the committee will be told that planting schemes taking place in the constituency in the coming months will include at Marley Community Orchard, which will also include planting space for schools, at Highfield Recreation Ground in Keighley, at Whins Wood Recreation Ground between Keighley and Cross Roads, and involve creating a “forest garden” and planting fruit trees at Park Wood in Keighley. Trees will be planted at Addingham War Memorial Recreation Ground and hard to mow areas of Silsden Park.

The areas total around two hectares and the report adds: “Although these schemes are still subject to stakeholder consultation and final design decisions, indications are that these schemes are likely to be funded and completed this (planting) season.”

Across the Keighley area the Council has created a ‘long list’ of 37 sites that could be used for tree planting, covering an additional gross area of 876ha. These include some areas of Ilkley Moor (approximately 738ha) and Penistone Country Park (approximately 71ha). Other suitable sites include 1.8 hectares at Steeton tip, 1.5 hectares at Damems allotments and a 9.5 hectare site at Utley Cemetery.

The Council will be working with the two national tree planting schemes, as well as groups like Trees for Cities and the Woodland Trust to fund the planting.

A spokesperson, said: “The Council is developing a number of local tree planting schemes.

“This year we plan to plant over 20,000 trees across the district but this is subject to funding. Tree planting delivers clear environmental benefits, provides habitat for animals and makes areas more attractive.

“We welcome any offers of financial support and would like to hear from landowners who would like to participate in the programme.”