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Locals spend weekend planting thousands of trees in Welshpool

This past weekend (21st-22nd January), farmers, local residents and supporters of climate charity Possible came together to plant 2500 trees on Glyn Canol Farm in Welshpool. Spread across 500m, the new hedges will draw down CO2 from the atmosphere while providing valuable refuges for native wildlife.

By working with the Nature Friendly Farming Network, Possible is working to actively engage the agricultural sector in reducing its carbon emissions. A vital part of the UK’s economy and rural life, the sector has struggled to reduce its contribution to UK carbon emissions – flatlining at contributing around 10% to the national total for the last decade. Tree-planting activities like these, as well as other measures, will be essential in allowing the sector to successfully achieve the UK’s legally binding net-zero 2050 target and NFU’s ambition for UK agriculture to be net-zero carbon by 2040.

Hedgerows have a storied history in the UK. Existing since Bronze Age farming, their growth has been on and off since Roman times. Post-1945, to ensure food security in the UK, many policies were put in place to encourage their removal. Only very recently have the negative impacts of their degradation been fully understood and now initiatives all around the country are looking at how we can regenerate them in order to reduce carbon emissions and protect native wildlife.

With these events Possible give the public real opportunities to take action on climate and wildlife – something that can feel monumentally difficult at times – while providing practical utility to farmers, increasing carbon drawdown and wildlife habitats. The events also create opportunities for the public to access the countryside, nature and green space as well as enable conversations between the wider public and farmers about their work and their responses to the climate and nature crises.

Volunteers from the weekend enjoyed the event so much that they have offered to return to the farm to continue planting over the next few weekends.

Possible has been working with local communities to deliver local tree planting since 2018. Possible links up local residents and our supporters from around the country to volunteer to plant trees and hedges. With the success of this, and other hedgerow plantings on farms across the UK, there is an opportunity for this approach to hedge restoration and planting work to be extended – unlocking benefits for farmers, the public and the environment alike.

Elliot McDeevitt, tree-planting campaigner at climate charity Possible, said:

“Tree-planting is always an enjoyable and rewarding experience for Possible and all of our volunteers. This has been a particularly successful session and local residents as well as volunteers all had a blast. Hedgerow regeneration will undoubtedly be a valuable tool as the UK looks to reduce its carbon emissions and restore its native wildlife. By working with the Nature Friendly Farming Network we hope we can help those in the agricultural sector who want to make a change and connect communities from all walks of life to the benefit of both the climate and nature.”

A volunteer from the event said:

 “Getting involved was a part of my New Year’s resolution – to be a bit more positive about the environment and get a bit more hands on and do more. We saw this advertised on social media, and thought it was a great idea so we registered. It’s so good to finally be doing something”