North Ayrshire Council’s tree planting strategy, which would see 108,000 trees planted across the county by 2030, is about to be approved.

It is part of the council’s commitment to be ‘net-zero’ by this time, in response to the climate change emergency.

The programme will create a new woodland resource in North Ayrshire and will be funded in part by a £500,000 allocation from the council’s investment fund.

North Ayrshire have already seen a reduction of carbon emissions by over 28 percent over the last five years following the implementation of numerous projects.

As well as carbon absorption, it is hoped this latest initiative will create employment and training opportunities for local people, in addition to co-operatively owned commercial forestry opportunities as part of the council’s Community Wealth Building Strategy.

Additionally, this should open up health, wellbeing and physical activity opportunities, while increasing air quality and reducing flood risk.

Wildlife may also benefit from the increased areas for habitat which should reduce the volume of derelict land in North Ayrshire.

The new proposals would cover around 40 hectares of land with the first phase of planting set to commence later this year.

Councillor Jim Montgomerie, North Ayrshire Council Cabinet Member for Green New Deal and Sustainability, said: “I welcome the plans to deliver an ambitious tree planting programme, which will help North Ayrshire achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2030.

“The increase in trees will help combat climate change as trees absorb substantial amounts of carbon from the atmosphere.

“However, it is important to recognise the wider reaching and longer-term benefits of trees and woodlands which align with the Council Plan.

“There are multiple benefits to this initiative but the biggest one is the community involvement.

"It’s key that we work in partnership with our local communities and schools to help deliver this programme. “

The councillor added: “We hope to introduce a pilot programme with community groups later this year – depending on where we are the current Covid-19 pandemic.”