West Lancashire will be an even greener area after keen gardeners signed up in their hundreds for the Borough Council’s Free Tree Scheme.
The Council received 794 applications under the scheme, more than five times the usual number of applications.
The theme was fruit trees, and applicants could choose from three different varieties, which were Bramley Apple, Victoria Plum and Conference Pear.
The Free Tree Scheme aims to improve the borough’s environment and attract more wildlife into our gardens.
Those who didn’t want a fruit tree could apply to have a pre-packed wildlife/hedging bundle of 25 whip plants. This was made up of five different species, Hawthorn, Blackthorn, Hazel, Guelder Rose and Rowan. These can be used to create a short section of new hedge, close gaps in an existing hedge or create a wildlife corner in a garden. Many species of birds, bats and insects require the habitat created by planting groups of trees or hedges and the species in this pack will be perfect for attracting wildlife.
The Organic Veg Club from Burscough received nine fruit trees and five hedging packs to help the organisers with planting on their 18-acre site. The Club is a community supported agriculture scheme which was started in 2013 by Neil and Jane Hickson on land that Jane inherited. They are joining people from the local area to grow fresh fruit and vegetables on the land, and members of the project will share what is grown.
Neil said: “The Club has had a good reception and local people are getting involved and we are looking forward to having our first harvest this year. We are very grateful for the support we have had from the Council through the Free Tree Scheme.”
Councillor Martin Forshaw, portfolio holder for Planning, said: “Applications for the Free Tree Scheme have gone through the roof this year, far eclipsing anything we have done before. This success means that more than 5,000 trees have been planted through the scheme since it began in 2008, helping to make West Lancashire an even more attractive place to live as well as improving the environment and supporting local wildlife.”
All the trees and whips bundles had to be planted in the borough and applicants needed to provide an undertaking to look after the trees in the future. The Council also provided a useful guide showing them how to plant and nurture the trees.