Our Environment

Our natural environment works hard to capture our harmful emissions and turn them into the oxygen we breathe. We’re working hard to ensure our county is as green as possible to help us on our journey to net zero.

To celebrate Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee, we’ve linked up with residents, schools, community groups, towns and parishes across Northumberland to plant tree saplings this winter.

The Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC) is a unique tree planting initiative created to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022 which invites people from across the UK to “Plant a Tree for the Jubilee”.

To celebrate the Jubilee, we have linked up with residents, schools, community groups, towns and parishes across Northumberland to plant tree saplings this winter.

Trees help capture harmful emissions in our atmosphere and convert them into the oxygen that we breathe on a daily basis. Planting more trees will help the county become carbon neutral and create an environment that our residents can enjoy for generations to come.

We’ve selected just a handful of communities that are doing their bit for the planet by planting more trees to highlight the important work they are doing for Northumberland. Watch videos and find out more about the groups below.

A message from Council Leader Glen Sanderson:
Planting more trees is just one of the many ways we’re involving residents in helping achieve Northumberland’s target to become carbon neutral by 2030.

Our fantastic Free Tree Giveaway scheme aims to give every household in our county the opportunity to plant a tree over the next decade, with 15,000 tree saplings up for grabs each winter.

Tree planting is more important than ever following the destruction caused by Storm Arwen in November, leading to the loss of thousands of mature trees across the region. If you aren’t able to plant a tree this winter, please consider taking us up on the Free Tree Giveaway next winter to help us replace the trees we have tragically lost.

Find out more about our Queen's Green Canopy case studies below.
More to come so watch this space!
Ovington Tree Planting group holding planting tools and tree saplings
The Northumbrian village of Ovington in the Tyne Valley are on a tree-planting mission.

Many of the 527 free-standing trees in the village have ash dieback, a disease that will eventually kill the trees. Determined to do something about it, residents in Ovington formed a tree planting group in early 2020.

This winter the group are replacing trees that are likely to die by claiming 90 copse saplings from Northumberland County Council’s Free Tree Giveaway. Concentrating on field boundaries, the group introduced silver birch, rowan, wild cherry and hawthorn species, starting new hedgerows. The group plan to continue tree planting on an annual basis with agreement of landowners.

Anne Hudson, who is an Ovington Parish Councillor, organised the tree planting event, and is passionate about tackling climate change.

Anne: The Queen's Green Canopy has been a campaign of Her Majesty for decades. What we're doing in the UK really is a celebration of her life and the work she's been doing so I think it's a fabulous initiative that all councils throughout the country are looking at. We've known for some time about climate change, and the UK hosted COP26, so we have to practise what we preach, and this is a very public demonstrable way of showing that not only does each parish care but the whole county cares.

Anne’s sentiment is shared by Peter Pescod, fellow tree planter and former chair of Ovington Parish Council.

Peter: Many of us in the third stage of our lives will directly escape the worst consequences of climate change, but if our children and grandchildren and those that follow are to have any sort of future, we need to start redressing some of the problems that we have been creating. A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step as Laozi Tzu once said and we all need to work away to do what we can.

There was a great turnout at the latest tree planting event, with families, residents and regular volunteers getting stuck in together. Holly Waddell, ward councillor for Bywell, noticed the positive atmosphere.

Holly: It's part of the council's policy to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2030. I think these kind of things are really important because it empowers individuals in communities to take ownership of tackling the climate emergency we’re facing. I'm hoping that these kind of activities are going to really tackle that we're going to get it under control within the next few years because I want to be able to pass this planet on to my children and my grandchildren and at the moment we're facing potential for that not to happen.

When it comes to what individuals can do to tackle climate change, the group had a few words of advice to give.

Peter: We want young people and families who have a future before them, to see that we are actually improving our environment rather than letting it go the other way. I think all of us involved in it would like to leave the place better than when we found it.

Holly: Ovington's a really small village and the fact that so many people are taking positive action just shows that no one is too small to make a change in the world and that you might only have a small group to work with, but you can do big things.

Anne: Even if you have no backyard to plant a tree you could volunteer to be part of somebody's group to do tree planting. Our whole planet is changing and deteriorating at a very rapid rate and could threaten the human race, and this is a massive, massive task. So, what we do as individuals might seem a pin prick but if a thousand and then a million and then a trillion pin pricks are put together it starts to make a difference and that's what we're doing here.

Watch the full video:

Applications for the Free Tree Giveaway are now closed.

Due to the aftermath of Storm Arwen requiring our full attention, we are postponing our collection points and deliveries until further notice.
We apologise for this inconvenience and have tried to contact everyone affected. Once the clean-up is complete, we will be in touch to rearrange collection of your free tree sapling. Planting new trees this winter is now more important than ever following the damage Storm Arwen has inflicted on our woodlands.
If you have any queries regarding the free tree scheme, please contact freetree@northumberland.gov.uk