Feature: Free trees giveaway proved as popular as ever in Ilkeston

Sarah Bould, Jaimey Richards and Richard Windsor
Sarah Bould, Jaimey Richards and Richard Windsor
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Do you know your Dog Rose tree from a Common Hornbeam? I don’t, as proven when I helped out with a free tree giveaway at Ilkeston Market Place.

The great British tree giveaway is a initiative run by Erewash Borough Council. A stall is set up for one day in Long Eaton and one day in Ilkeston.

In a matter of hours hundreds of trees are snapped up by green-fingered Erewash residents and it doesn’t cost them a penny.

The free tree scheme sees 14 different types of young trees available, some of which will grow taller than 12 metres. Erewash residents simply need to choose which five trees they would like and take them home to plant in their garden.

Around 1,500 trees - all native to the UK - were given away by the team.

Manning the stall were a team of four, including the council’s tree officer Jaimey Richards, and Pride in Erewash co-ordinator Richard Windsor.

Jaimey has been a tree officer for eight years and has an environmental background, including studying arboriculture.

She said: “It used to be called the East Derbyshire Woodland Project. It is only Erewash Borough Council and Derbyshire County Council that now offer a free tree scheme.

“It’s to encourage normal people to plant trees, not just landowners.”

Ilkeston resident Angela Hart took advantage of the scheme last year and came back this year for more free trees. She said: “The trees I got last year are growing really well.”

The trees are bought by the council from a tree nursery with the initiative being aimed at encouraging people to grow them.

Richard said: “The free tree scheme has been going for more than ten years. The idea is to increase tree coverage across Derbyshire.

“It is also to encourage people to look after the environment.”

The most popular trees are holly, crab apple and cherry.

By the end of the four hours all of the trees will have been taken.

Derbyshire County Council also had a stall at the event, encouraging people to find out what happens to their recycling. People just need to log on to www.derbyshire.gov.uk/yourrecycling and type in their postcode to find out exactly where their plastic, glass, cardboards, garden waste and paper goes.

For example, Erewash Borough Council collects plastic and takes it to a depot in Ilkeston. It is then loaded onto larger lorries with other recycling collected in the area and taken to a sorting depot in Leicester to separate each type of material.

Some plastic is taken to one of five recycling plants in Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, Dagenham, Lincolnshire and Southbank in Australia. Plastic recycled abroad is shipped on boats which would otherwise be empty returning from delivering goods to the UK. This is more environmentally friendly than using raw materials to make new products and doesn’t cost council tax-payers any more money. It will be used to make: pipes for irrigation system, plastic garden furniture, containers for food, and fibre to make clothing and car upholstery.