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Lancashire Times
A Voice of the North
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11:00 AM 28th June 2021
nature

YDMT Seek Landowners Support To Rid Dales Of Waste Plastic

Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust (YDMT) is calling on landowners across the national park to help remove redundant plastic tree guards from the landscape.

As part of the Clapham-based charity’s Plastic Free Woodlands project, supported by the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA), the aim is to remove at least 38,000 tree guards from Dales’ woodlands over the next 18 months.

These will be collected at two central sites and then recycled.

Mike Appleton, YDMT Project Officer, said:
“Most new woodland creation schemes in the Dales will have been planted using plastic tree guards that provide essential protection from voles, rabbits, and deer. If a woodland is well managed, these guards will be removed after approximately 10 years once the trees are established. The concern is that if the plastic guards are left on site, over time they will disintegrate into smaller fragments that find their way into our soils and waterways.

“We are working with landowners, community groups, other organisations and volunteers to collect redundant tree guards and sending them to be recycled and used to make new products.

“We’re calling on landowners who want to remove these guards from their woods to get in touch. We can help to get them recycled and, in some cases, enlist volunteers to help.”

As well as removing redundant guards from woodlands and trialling alternatives, Plastic Free Woodlands aims to break the reliance on plastic and find sustainable alternatives in woodland creation.

Mike added:
“We’re currently trialling alternative guards at six sites across the Dales and Nidderdale, It is hoped that the results of the trials will enable landowners to make an informed choice when planning a woodland.”

YDMT is also working as part of the Forestry Plastic Group made up of representatives within the forestry sector from across the UK.

The working group is taking a collaborative approach to address the use and management of plastic and aims to encourage a change in attitudes and behaviours and reduce the amount of single-use plastic within the industry.

Cat Barker, Conservation Project Coordinator at EOCA, said:
“EOCA is really pleased and excited to be supporting this innovative project working to source a more sustainable alternative for establishing woodlands in the future, as well as its dedicated hard work to remove plastic tubes currently prevalent in our woodlands.”

If you are a landowner with redundant tree tubes then contact Mike at tubes@ydmt.org