New woodland for Belle Isle

Playing fields off Old Run Road in Belle Isle is set be transformed by the planting of 13,000 trees. Planting starts on Saturday (2 December 2017) with a community planting day from 10am-2pm.

The project is a partnership between Trees For Cities and Leeds City Council and is being funded by Mothercare.

The site for this project was identified by Leeds City Council, in consultation with local councillors, residents and other stakeholders. The planting design is such that open spaces will be left and not affect existing use of the site, e.g., for dog walkers, sports etc.

Kathy Singela from Trees for Cities explained:

“Planting at this location has great environmental benefit, improving woodland connectivity, linking two areas of mature woodland and adding important diversity to the tree population in terms of both age and species. The trees will additionally form a buffer for the school and housing, to help screen noise and mitigate air pollution from the motorway and industrial area.”

This scheme is fully in line with Leeds City Council’s aim to increase the City’s tree canopy cover as part of a multi-disciplinary approach to adapt to the challenges of air pollution and reduce flooding.

Beyond the environmental benefits, there are significant social benefits, with evidence showing that biodiverse natural environments are associated with good health and wellbeing, improvements ranging from better mental health outcomes, to associations with increased healthy behaviours.

“By engaging local people in creating the new woodland, we hope to bring neighbours together to make a positive change to their local environment, ensuring a sense of local ownership a pride in creation of this new space, which ultimately will be for all to enjoy” said Kathy.

Tree species have been selected for their compatibility with both the ground conditions and the surrounding landscape. Wherever possible, locally sourced trees will be planted. 14 different species will be planted including Alder, Birch, Goat Willow, Oak, Wild Cherry, Crab Apple, Field Maple and Scots Pine.

Further planting days for local schools, businesses and volunteer groups will take place in the run up to Christmas. Planting is expected to be completed by the New Year.

Anyone interested in volunteering can come along on Saturday, sign up online here, or just turn up. If you’re interested in booking a group sessions during the weeks before Christmas, please contact Kathy or Justin