Ambitious plans to create a woodland near every settlement in South Holland are set to be announced with it being claimed it’s amid concerns over the future of local government.
Lord Gary Porter, the leader of South Holland District Council, says the authority is working with the Woodland Trust on the project as the area has one of the lowest rates of woodland in the country.
He told The Voice it was a project that he and the council had been working on for 18 months but hopes firmer proposals in the form of a draft report will be tabled next month.
Coun Porter said the authority has been in discussions with parish councils, developers and landowners about providing spaces in each South Holland settlement where a new wood could be created.
“These woods would be for everyone,” he said. “We’ve already spoken to a couple of developers who are interested in working with us.
“We’re in an initial consultation phase in terms of how we can design and maintain these spaces.
“We’ve also set up an internal committee to advise on this and we’re working with the Woodland Trust.
“This area has less trees than any other in the country and we’re trying to redress that.
“Ideally we’d be able to plant many hundreds of the trees so there’s places throughout the district for the public to walk in and enjoy.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to get land and woods in every settlement – in every large settlement at least.”
Coun Porter also said part of the reasoning for taking the project on was to ensure the land would be used for future generations.
The first land to be donated is a 23-acre site in Moulton, a portion of which will be given to Moulton Parish Council for a play area.
Andrew Malkin, who had campaigned for the play area, claimed part of the reasoning for giving the land away was because Coun Porter “was most concerned to protect against asset stripping in the event that central government disassembles the current local authority organisation in favour of much bigger, single unitary authorities.”
When asked about his thoughts on the possibility of unitary authorities being brought in for Lincolnshire, he said: “If we do get reorganised, and it’s definitely an if rather than when, then South Holland District Council will be dissolved.
“I don’t want to risk losing amenities so they could be lost and a unitary authorities moving something to the city and boosting their leisure provision up there.
“I just want to make sure that can’t happen.
“I want to protect the land for the local community.”