Trees promised to offset Air Festival’s carbon footprint are still yet to be planted

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TREES promised to offset emissions from this year’s Bournemouth Air Festival have yet to be planted.

Discussions are still being held between several schools willing to plant a share of the 240 trees pledged earlier this year.

At Tuesday’s meeting of BCP Council, cabinet member for tourism, councillor Lewis Allison, said the remainder would be grown at nature reserves across the conurbation, including Hicks Farm.

Speaking ahead of the event, Cllr Allison said there was a “growing expectation” to make it more sustainable following its declaration of a climate emergency.

But the tree-planting scheme was criticised as a “token gesture” by campaigners.

Organisers of the air festival estimated that 240 tonnes of carbon dioxide were emitted this year.

Schools were contacted in September to see whether they would be willing to host any of the 240 trees required.

With none yet planted, the issue was raised at Tuesday’s meeting of the council by former Bournemouth councillor Phil Stanley-Watts.

He asked Cllr Allison for an update on the project and suggested planting could take place in green spaces around the area “to enhance the environment”.

In response, the cabinet member for tourism said work had been going on “continuously” since the end of the air festival to find suitable location.

“Working with the arboreal and tourism teams, I have been liaising with schools across the area that will be receiving trees,” he said.

“The remaining trees that won’t be planted at schools will be planted either at Hicks Farm or other nature reserves in the area.”

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The scheme is being supported by Carbon Footprint which helps organisations offset emissions.

Its representative John Buckley said a single tree would balance out a tonne of carbon dioxide while also helping protect the Amazon rainforest.

Initial estimates were that 275 tonnes would be created but the figure was revised down to 240 after the air festival finished.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Stanley-Watts urged the council to step up its tree-planting work and put particular focus on the area around the River Stour.

He said more trees, in combination with the introduction of beavers, could help reduce flooding issues in the area which, he said, were “only going to get worse”.



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