More than 1,200 trees planted in Fairfields Farm Big Tree Plant

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Volunteers in Essex, including team members from the region’s largest independent retailer the East of England Co-op, have planted more than 1,200 trees as part of the Fairfields Farm Big Tree Plant.

The community event took place on Friday 9 and Saturday 10 December, with volunteers planting the trees on land owned by crisp producers Fairfields Farm in West Bergholt.

Planting trees improves biodiversity, creates more green spaces in the community, and are critical in the fight against climate change. On average, one hectare of native broadleaf woodland will store between 300 and 350 tonnes of carbon over 100 years. Only 13% of the UK is woodland cover, in stark comparison to the EU average of 37%. The Committee on Climate Change has recommended an increase in woodland cover to 19% to help the UK meet carbon targets.

The event was run in association with Essex County Council, which supplied the trees as part of the Essex Forest Initiative, with mulch donated by Birch Airfield Composting Services.

Helping out from the East of England Co-op was Community Engagement Manager Lynn Warner, who commented: “This event was a good opportunity for the East of England Co-op to support one of our most popular Sourced Locally producers, help create a lasting green legacy and increase critical woodland cover. We rolled up our sleeves and got stuck in, with plenty of hot drinks on hand to help battle the cold.”

Earlier this year Fairfields Farm Crisps received a silver award from the Suffolk Carbon Charter in recognition of its work to measure and reduce its carbon footprint.

Robert Strathern, co-founder of Fairfields Farm, said: "Part of our carbon net zero commitment is to substantially increase woodland at our farm. We are a small team and knew getting thousands of trees into the ground was never going to be a quick task if we did it on our own! So, we asked the community if they would lend a hand and they turned out in full force. We are really grateful to our volunteers and partners, including the team at the East of England Co-op, for their support."

Essex County Council pledged in 2019 to plant more than 375,000 trees over a five-year period as part of The Essex Forest Initiative. By the end of this winter, the Essex Forest Initiative partners will have planted 250,000 trees.

Councillor Lee Scott, Essex County Council Cabinet Member responsible for the Essex Forest Initiative, said: “it’s really encouraging to see so many volunteers plant trees to help make Essex greener. Trees are a really useful tool to help fight climate change and provide Essex residents with clean air.

“Since its inception in 2019, the Essex Forest Initiative has gone from strength to strength and is not just on track to achieve its target, but to exceed it.

“In 2021 Essex County Council made environment one of four key focus areas in its Everyone’s Essex strategy to level up the county until 2025.”

During National Tree Week (26 Nov – 4 Dec), new research revealed the economic value of individual trees has been valued at £3.8 billion.

For more information on The Essex Forest Initiative visit