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600 trees planted with plastic-free tree guards at Milton Creek Country Park

Published Thursday 25 February, 2021
Last updated on Thursday 25 February, 2021

Swale Borough Council has planted 600 trees in Milton Creek Country Park.

The trees have been wrapped in plastic-free tree guards provided by local business DS Smith to protect them from rabbits and other animals gnawing at their bark while they grow.

The tree guards are made from cardboard mixed with natural wax to repel water and will last approximately 2-3 years.

The local business provided funding to the Friends of Milton Creek Country Park community group to purchase 2,500 plastic-free guards with their environmental grant from the council.

Cllr Julian Saunders, cabinet member for environment at the council, said:

“We’ve planted 600 trees in Milton Creek Country Park this winter.

“The mixture of hawthorn, blackthorn, oak, hazel, willow and silver birch trees will flower at different times of the year, providing important food for a variety of insects and mammals, especially bees.

“The tree saplings have been planted with soil improver and plastic-free guards to give them the best chance at taking root.

“Kemsley Paper Mill - the Sittingbourne branch​ of DS Smith - funded 2,500 cardboard tree guards, and we’re really pleased to be able to plant the trees we need without contributing to the already high number of plastics in the environment.

“Planting these trees will help us off-set 20 per cent of council emissions, which is a key priority of our climate and ecological emergency action plan.

“We had hoped to plant 2,000 trees this winter to divide grasslands and make new habitat wildlife corridors. But our usual team of volunteers haven’t been able to help due to government restrictions.

“Hopefully next winter we’ll be able to welcome our volunteers back and continue to grow our parks and green spaces and improve air quality across the borough.”

Ben Jennings, Mill Manager at DS Smith Kemsley Paper Mill, said:

“Over the years, we’ve partnered on many projects at Milton Creek Country Park located next to Kemsley Paper Mill.  Activities have included tree planting, litter picking, Park Run takeovers and tree coppicing all of which our Mill employees keenly participate in.

“In September 2020, we launched our ‘Now and Next Sustainability Strategy’ with Biodiversity a core element, the DS Smith Charitable Foundation has set an ambitious target of funding 100 biodiversity projects in the local community and I am delighted that we are able to both support and fund this biodiversity initiative.

“Using biodegradable tree guards not only removes the use of plastics but also helps with the protection of wild and domestic animals in the local area.”