Woodland creation

We will plant 5.8 million trees from autumn 2020 in response to the climate emergency. Find out about the scheme and how to get involved.

This will help us to achieve our goal of making Leeds carbon neutral by 2030. The scheme includes education, community engagement and volunteering, creating woodlands for the future.

Get involved

Seed gathering bonanza

Education packs have been developed for teachers to use. The Arium will be a hub for information about seed gathering, sapling establishment and the wider benefits trees have to the environment. These include:

  • working with schools and community groups 
  • our Countryside Rangers helping to gather the right seeds during September and October
  • children and communities collecting seeds and taking them to The Arium and other collection points (sites to be announced)
  • creating the right environment for the seeds to develop at The Arium, ready to plant

To take part in seed collection workshops with our countryside rangers, register you interest by emailing woodlandcreation@leeds.gov.uk.

Volunteer planting

There is already a huge commitment to volunteering in our parks and green spaces. This represents over 24,000 volunteer hours each year.

If you are interested in volunteering for tree planting, email woodlandcreation@leeds.gov.uk. We will sign you up and notify you of up and coming events during the winter.

Planting takes place in the winter months from late November until February.

volunteer preparing land for tree planting

A volunteer helping with tree planting.


You can donate to fund the planting of any number of trees in Leeds through Love Leeds Parks external link.

What we need to do

An additional 1,250 hectares of woodland will be created over 25 years. New woodland sites will be formed throughout the city on council owned land. 

This means that the amount of woodland in Leeds will double over this time, transforming the way parks and green spaces are managed.

Benefits of woodland creation

Trees are a vital part of the environment. They remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and provide oxygen. This is crucial in reducing the effects of greenhouse gas emissions.

They act as air filters, capturing harmful pollutants by trapping them on their leaves and bark.

Woodlands provide a place to connect with nature, helping people to relax and unwind, which benefits both mental and physical health.

Trees and woodlands are important habitats for wildlife. Mature trees provide places to shade and reduce urban temperatures.

Flooding can also be prevented by keeping soil in place and their roots soaking up water. This reduces the amount of surface water building up and removes pressure on drainage systems in urban areas.

Growing our own

We have increased growing capacity at The Arium to help achieve our goals, with new equipment and seed collection points.

We will make sure a suitable mix of trees, including native broad leaf species and other resilient species are planted in a way that maximises the benefits for habitat creation, wildlife and recreation, as well as helping to combat climate change.

Right tree, right place 

Choosing the right location for a woodland plantation is vital to ensuring that the saplings flourish.

Before any woodland is planted, we make sure there are no plans for alternative future usage of the land, consider any impact on nearby properties and this meets community and environmental needs. We carry out due diligence checks including underground service checks to ensure the area is suitable for long term tree planting.

For this scheme, 50 hectares of parks and green space will be identified each year across the city. We will make sure these spaces are the right size to have a positive impact to the area.

We will be creating paths, glades and clearings, so that people can access and enjoy the new woodlands for many years.

Areas of larger planting will be fenced for the first few years to allow the woodland to establish.

Establishing woodlands

We will be planting 4,500 saplings per hectare, a planting target of 225,000 trees each year and 5.8 million trees from 2020 to 2045. 

The saplings will be about 1.5 metres tall when planted.

saplings at one and five years from planting

Saplings at one year from planting and five years from planting.


The overall cost to prepare the land, supply, plant, protect and establish a tree is estimated at £5.

This includes land ownership and service checks, handling, storage and delivery of trees and conducting environmental impact assessments and notification to the Forestry Commission, where necessary.

This cost also includes additional resources to arrange voluntary planting and other community engagement such as seed gathering.

White Rose Forest

We are a member of the White Rose Forest - a vision to increase tree cover and improve access to green spaces across the city that will benefit people, wildlife and the local economy.

We’re working in partnership with businesses, organisations and communities to plant and protect trees on public and private land in Leeds.

By increasing the quality and quantity of wooded spaces in our city, the White Rose Forest will help support the wellbeing of residents, protect local wildlife, and tackle the climate emergency.

Find our more on the White Rose Forest website external link.

Opportunities for local businesses

Your business can support the local community help the environment and build sustainable woodlands.

To get your business in supporting the woodland creation scheme and for more information, please contact parks.sponsorship@leeds.gov.uk.

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