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Nearly 4,000 trees planted by Shropshire farmers in new project

By Rory Smith | Farming | Published:

Farmers in Shropshire planted nearly 4,000 trees after Severn Trent gave out tree packs at two events to test engagement and appetite for tree planting on marginal land.

Dr Alex Cooke, Severn Trent senior catchment scientist, explained that due to such a high level of take-up from farmers, the water company is now looking into rolling out the scheme to all community members, across the whole Severn Trent region, as part of its commitment to plant 1.3 million trees by 2030.

Farmers took an average of 118 trees each to plant on non-agricultural or marginal land.

Ms Cooke said: “The government’s incoming Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS) is set to reward farmers for providing environmental benefits, such as those tree planting can bring, and we want to help those in our catchments meet the criteria."

Feedback surveys from the events showed that the majority of farmers in attendance didn’t fully understand the term public goods, which is a key foundation of ELMS, with 40 per cent of those only associating the term with improved biodiversity, rather than other benefits such as soil and water quality.

Ms Cooke added: “Therefore, our future tree-pack events, starting this autumn, will provide a knowledge sharing opportunity to help give farmers the tools and information they need to fully embrace future changes.

The project aims to increase wildlife habitat creation and connection, reduce pesticide run-off, provide water quantity improvements through flood regulation; improve soil quality and increase resilience to tree disease and climate change.

Rory Smith

By Rory Smith
Reporter - @rorysmith_star

Senior reporter based at the Shropshire Star's head office in Ketley, Telford.

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