York Council 30.10.23

Community Woodland recognised in new award

York Community Woodland has won the prestigious silver Community Woodland Award for Excellence in Forestry 2023 from the Royal Forestry Society (RFS).

The RFS award celebrates woodland projects that benefit communities. Highlighting projects that establish and manage woodlands in a way that is sustainable and beneficial to the landscape, the local people, biodiversity and the economy in both the short and long-term.

York Community Woodland is being delivered through a partnership between City of York Council and Forestry England with the goal of establishing an extensive community woodland on a 195-acre plot of land to the west of York.

The woodland supports York’s efforts to tackle the long-term impacts of climate change, increase biodiversity, and promote active travel, health and wellbeing. It will also contribute to York’s new goal of increasing the city’s tree canopy cover from 10.8% to 13% by 2050 – the equivalent of 21 hectares of new canopy cover each year – and help to grow the wider White Rose Forest across Yorkshire.

The woodland has been developed with the help of 400 local volunteers and 30 stakeholder groups with specialist skills and interests.

Judges said:

“This is definitely one to watch! It’s a great start to a major community woodland creation project using a different model for creation in a climate, nature and well-being emergency. This is still a fledgling project in terms of delivery and implementation although the consultation phase has been exemplary.  A lot has been done in a short space of time to get this large project to the point of delivery.”

Cllr Jenny Kent, City of York Council’s joint executive member for Environment and Climate Emergency, said:

“The team is thrilled that York Community Woodland has been recognised for such a prestigious award. It’s great to see the skill and effort of hundreds of local volunteers rewarded – this project represents what York’s communities can achieve when we work together towards a shared goal.”

Nick Short, Woodland Creation Manager for Forestry England Yorkshire said:

“The woodland is still being created, so to be recognised is testament to the huge team effort, as well as the technical skill and breadth of experience of staff across the organisation, allowing us to plan and deliver creative solutions to the many challenges of such a project. We have a way to go with establishing the site yet, but we’re proud of the progress so far and we look forward to welcoming visitors in 2024.”

This is the second major award for York Community Woodland. Earlier this year it won the John Boddy Award for ‘Best community woodland to be planted in Yorkshire in the past 15 years’.

To keep in touch with Forestry England’s plans for creating the woodland visit www.forestryengland.uk/york-community-woodland.

To find out more about carbon reduction and climate action in York visit www.york.gov.uk/climatechange.

You can also sign up to the council’s monthly Climate Change newsletter at https://www.york.gov.uk/form/EmailUpdates.