Social housing provider joins the green revolution with bumper tree planting drive
A leading social housing provider has planted almost 15,000 trees in communities all over England as part of its commitment to tackling the climate crisis.
Stonewater, which has 34,500 homes across the country, has led the way in the housing sector with a range of environmental initiatives aimed at delivering on the national net zero carbon target by 2050.
It is keen to highlight the benefits of its successful tree planting drive as individuals and organisations prepare to do their bit for National Tree Week (November 27-December 5).
Stonewater became the first UK housing association to team up with the Community Forest Trust (CFT), back in March 2019.
For every home it builds, Stonewater plants at least one tree on the new development and donates £50 to CFT to plant another five trees. Since 2017, Stonewater has seen nearly 15,000 trees planted – both through direct planting and through their support of CFT’s work – and expects to clock up another 3,400 by April 2022.
In addition to tree planting, public art is another important element of the placemaking work Stonewater does to add value and convey a distinctive sense of place within its communities.
After nearly a decade of commissioning local artists to deliver artworks for its new developments, the housing association recently launched the George Blunden Public Art Prize to give established and emerging artists the chance to deliver innovative and sustainable artworks that complement the communal and open areas on its schemes.
Jonathan Layzell, Executive Director of Development at Stonewater, said: “As a social housing provider, we are committed to protecting the environment and creating sustainable communities. We are pleased with the success of our tree planting campaign and the impact it has made within our neighbourhoods. On a wider level, it is one of various sustainability initiatives we have implemented to help us play our part in tackling the challenge of climate change.”
Iain Taylor, Interim Chief Executive at the CFT, said: “We are thrilled to be in partnership with Stonewater, planting trees and bringing the many benefits of community forestry to millions of people across the country. As well as playing a real role in helping achieve net zero, Stonewater’s support is helping to create new woodlands will mitigate the effects of climate change, provide habitats where biodiversity can thrive and create new green spaces for recreation and leisure, making our towns and cities more sustainable, enjoyable places to live and work.”
As part of its environmental sustainability strategy Stonewater has pledged that all its new-build developments will be carbon-free from 2023, with the help of trailblazing construction methods to reduce emissions.
The organisation is also exploring innovative technology to reduce the environmental impact of its existing 34,500 homes, as well as working to cut the carbon footprint of its office by 50% and travel by 33%.
Its annual targets include planting 3,000 trees, installing 200 low-carbon heating systems and improving energy efficiency in 350 properties so that, by 2030, all its homes will have an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) Level C rating or above.