Tree planting statement

The UK has a target to deliver 19% woodland cover as a key part of the country’s response to the climate and ecological emergency, and target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

We recognised the climate emergency in May 2019 and committed, through the Energy and Low Emissions Strategy, to set a target of net-zero emissions by 2050, and create an action plan for the county.

Increasing tree cover will be an important part of the council and county’s strategy for reaching a net-zero target: In October 2019 we committed to plant a tree for every person in Kent, which totals just over 1.5 million.

Over the coming year, we will determine:

  • how we can better protect and restore our existing trees and native woodland
  • where in the county do opportunities exist for the creation, restoration and protection of woods and trees
  • what contribution can we make to the national target of 19% UK woodland cover by 2050
  • how to ensure any new tree cover not only provides a role in the storage of carbon, but also supports the recovery of the county’s wildlife and benefits its residents.

Trees are just one of the natural solutions to climate change. As an authority, we will consider the opportunities offered by other solutions such as grassland, wetland and saltmarsh.

Our commitment to increase tree cover is part of a wider strategy for the protection, restoration and creation of natural solutions to mitigate and adapt to climate change, support biodiversity and promote multiple benefits.

If you are planting your own trees or seek funding opportunities, read our tree planting advice.

The Trees Outside Woodlands project

From 2021 to 2023 we're working with the UK Government, other local authorities, DEFRA, Natural England and the Tree Council to support projects that plant trees in our cities, towns and countryside.

We've been awarded £500,000 of funding from HM Treasury to run pilot schemes which aim to:

  • create new wildlife habitats
  • help tackle climate change
  • find cost-effective and innovative ways to increase tree coverage
  • increase the volume of locally produced, bio-secure tree stock in Kent.

Learn more about the Trees Outside Woodlands project

Planting trees in urban areas

Street tree planting can benefit more people and wildlife than any other type of tree, but their numbers are declining nationally and they cost more to plant and maintain than trees planted elsewhere.

Our first pilot, Urban Tree Establishment Funding, will test ways to increase tree cover in urban areas. We plan to develop several different approaches for sustainable and resilient planting, with a focus on:

  1. reflecting a 'right tree in the right place' ethos in new housing or commercial developments
  2. planting new trees in existing urban streets
  3. small scale planting in local parks, greens and open spaces.

Roadside trees

Our second project, 'Alternative management of roadside corridors', will investigate if natural regeneration, seed sowing, and other techniques could increase tree populations along roadsides.

A key focus of the pilot will be creating wildlife corridors to reconnect our fragmented woodlands. This provides safe and biologically diverse travel route for wildlife and people.

A number of trial plots are being delivered in collaboration with partners in local councils and national agencies.