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Surrey MPs support ambitious tree planting initiative to combat climate change

Last week, MPs from across Surrey took time out to mark Surrey Tree Week by planting trees in their local constituencies. This was organised in support of Surrey County Council’s commitment to facilitate planting 1.2 million trees in Surrey within the county by 2030.

Planting trees is an effective way to improve air quality, reduce noise and reduce flooding. Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and each tree will have absorbed approximately one tonne of CO2 by the time it is 40 years old. By the end of March, almost 50,000 trees will have been planted in Surrey.

All 11 MPs who represent constituencies across Surrey, including the Foreign Secretary and MP for Esher and Walton, Dominic Raab, and the Chancellor for the Duchy of Lancaster and MP for Surrey Heath, Michael Gove, have agreed to plant a tree to show their support for the county’s initiative, which also aligns with central government’s aim to plant 11 million trees by 2022.

Mike Goodman, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Waste, said: “We are delighted to have the support of all our local MPs for Surrey’s Tree Week. Increasing the number of trees in the county will help us achieve our aims of improving air quality and becoming net carbon zero by 2030.

“We would also encourage residents to plant their own trees in their garden if they can, or identify local areas such as verges, open spaces and public areas where new trees could be planted to improve the area.”

If you have suggestions on where you would like to see trees planted in your local area, please email trees@surreycc.gov.uk.

Locations

Farnham

Within Farnham, five trees were planted outside the library by the MP for South West Surrey, Jeremy Hunt, to recognise his commitment, along with Surrey County Council and Waverley Borough Council, to tackle air pollution in the area.

Picture: Peter Martin, Surrey County Council; Pat Evans, Farnham Town Mayor; Jeremy Hunt MP; Penny Marriott, Deputy Mayor of Waverley; George Hesse, Farnham Town Council and Peter Marriott, Consort to the Deputy Mayor of Waverley.

Mole Valley

Mole Valley MP, Sir Paul Beresford planted a selection of heritage fruit trees in the ancient orchard at West Horsley Place, an historic estate inherited by Bamber Gascoigne, which he has donated to the West Horsley Place Trust. The charity is working hard to raise funds to restore the Manor House (currently on the Historic England Heritage At Risk register) and 380 acre estate, and develop a range of cultural and learning programmes across arts, history and natural heritage; putting sustainability and wellbeing at the heart of their activities. The orchard is a superb example of a rare and declining habitat. The Trust is working hard to increase biodiversity across the estate as part of a county-wide nature recovery network. Habitat improvements include tree and hedgerow planting to mitigate climate change and create a sustainable estate for the 21st century.

Picture: Mike Goodman, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Waste, and Paul Beresford MP

Guildford

Angela Richardson, MP for Guildford, planted a tree in Stoke Recreation Ground, Guildford.

Picture: Matt Furniss, Surrey County Council; Pauline Searle, Guildford Borough Council; Angela Goodwin, Guildford Borough Council; Angela Richardson MP, Caroline Reeves, Guildford Borough Council and Mike Goodman, Surrey County Council.

Esher and Walton

Foreign Secretary and MP for Esher and Walton, Dominic Raab, planted a tree at Cranmere Primary School in Elmbridge. The school is near to a site where a new woodland is planned. The new woodland will consist of 40,000 trees planted on land owned by Surrey County Council before the end of March 2020. Over its lifetime, the area of woodland is expected to capture approximately 10,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, as well as providing other benefits such as in increase in biodiversity in the area.

Picture: Dominic Raab MP and Tim Oliver, Leader of Surrey County Council. (The children are in fancy dress for World Book Day.)

Woking

Jonathan Lord, MP for Woking, and Beryl Hunwicks, Mayor of Woking, planted trees on land next to Horsell Lodge Care Home in Woking.

Runnymede

Dr Ben Spencer, MP for Runnymede and Weybridge, planted a tree at Royal Holloway, University of London, in Egham. Royal Holloway was particularly keen to be chosen as a location for Surrey’s Tree Week as they are currently focusing on providing a peaceful outdoors environment to support students’ mental and physical wellbeing during their studies.

Picture: Mark Nuti, Deputy Cabinet Member at Surrey County Council; Dr Ben Spencer MP; Dr David Ashton, Deputy Principal of Royal Holloway, University of London.

Bagshot

Michael Gove, the Chancellor for the Duchy of Lancaster and MP for Surrey Heath, planted a tree in School Lane, Bagshot. One of the trees planted on the day was in memory of Emily Jane Popejoy, a girl from the village who sadly died shortly after Christmas in 1896, following serious mis-treatment by her employer. The case attracted considerable interest and her employer, a Mrs Nicholls, was tried at the Old Bailey in London. After a sensational five-day trial, Mrs Nicholls was sentenced to seven years. A national paper, the Weekly Dispatch, launched a public appeal to fund a memorial for Emily Jane, which still stands near the Chapel Lane entrance to Bagshot’s graveyard.

Picture: Michael Gove MP; Valerie White, Chair of Windlesham Parish Council; and children from Bagshot Infant School

Epsom

Chris Grayling, MP for Epsom and Ewell, and Bernie Muir, Surrey County Council and Epsom and Ewell Borough Council, planted a tree at Horton Country Park Local Nature Reserve in Epsom.

Reigate

Mark Brunt, Leader of Reigate and Banstead Borough Council; Natalie Bramhall, Deputy Cabinet Member for Property at Surrey County Council and Crispin Blunt, MP for Reigate, planted a tree in Priory Park, Reigate.

Godstone

Claire Coutinho, MP for East Surrey, and Cameron McIntosh, from Surrey County Council, planted a tree at Godstone Fire Station.

Spelthorne

Kwasi Kwarteng, MP for Spelthorne, will be planting a tree outside the new Spelthorne Fire Station, later in March.

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