Council Commemorates 50th Anniversary with Carbon-Busting Tree Scheme

Published: 20th March 2024

Mayor with a new redwood sapling
CARBON-BUSTER – Ribble Valley Mayor Mark Hindle plants the first RVBC50 golden groves at Edisford in Clitheroe and John Smith’s Playing Fields in Longridge.

Two carbon-busting redwood groves have been planted in Clitheroe and Longridge to commemorate Ribble Valley Borough Council’s 50th anniversary.

And the council is to plant further giant redwoods throughout the borough to mark its golden jubilee on 1 April.

Two greenhouse gas-gobbling ‘golden groves’ of five trees each have been planted at Edisford in Clitheroe and St John’s Playing Fields in Longridge.

And a further 40 trees will be planted at parishes throughout the borough over the coming weeks.

Giant redwoods are the tallest living thing on earth capable of storing hundreds of tonnes of carbon through ‘sequestration’, the process by which trees capture and store carbon in their roots and branches.

One giant redwood can store more carbon than a hectare of woodland and 250 times more than the average tree.

And the RVBC50 ‘redwood lungs’ are expected to bust the entire lifetime’s carbon footprint of 50 residents.

Ribble Valley Mayor Mark Hindle said: “In 1974, climate change was barely heard of, so we wanted to commemorate our 50th anniversary with an eye on the next 50 years and these carbon-busting ‘golden groves’ are the perfect way.

“Giant redwoods exude great presence, giving a real sense that you are meeting one of nature’s wonders, and we are delighted to be part of a global move to preserve, celebrate and utilise these majestic trees.”

Ribble Valley Borough Council countryside officer David Hewitt added: “Giant redwoods have been in the news recently for their incredible ability to soak up and store greenhouse gas.

“They are the ultimate botanical status symbol and have an important future role to play in tackling climate change.”

Recent research has shown that giant redwoods are thriving in the UK, which has a similar cool and wet climate to their native home in the Sierra Nevada mountains.

The trees are a colossus of carbon sequestration – each can grow up to 85 metres, their girths up to eight metres and their red warm-to-touch bark over 12 inches thick.

The Clitheroe and Longridge redwood groves will be visible from several vantage points, including wheelchair and pushchair-users, so that residents and visitors can watch these majestic trees take shape over the coming years.

Ribble Valley Borough came into being following the massive re-organisation of local government in 1974, the same year that the BBC launched Ceefax and Abba won the Eurovision Song Contest with Waterloo, when the average salary was £3,000 and a gallon of petrol cost 42p.

The reorganisation saw the country divided into ‘districts’, one of which, Ribble Valley, at 225 square miles, was the largest geographically in Lancashire, but with the smallest population, at the time less than 50,000 residents.

Since then, Ribble Valley has become one of the most successful boroughs in the country, with high customer satisfaction rates, low crimes rates and popular visitor destination, with a national reputation for food and drink.

Ribble Valley Borough Council has set aside £1million for projects marking the its 50th anniversary, along with £500,000 for improvements to the Clitheroe Castle grounds.

Parish councils in Ribble Valley interested in planting one of the 40 remaining giant redwoods are asked to contact Ribble Valley Borough Council’s countryside officer David Hewitt on 01200 425111 or 07725 602744.