Ambitious plans to plant one million trees by the end of 2030 have been unveiled by Wigan Council.
As part of a forward-thinking climate change strategy, council bosses are committing to their biggest ever planting programme.
A tree for every person aged under 18 in the borough – a total of 80,000 – will be planted in the first year.
Trees will be planted across parks, nature reserves and green spaces using local suppliers to meet the target by 2030.
The environmentally focused move comes after young residents voiced the quality of the borough’s air in the future as a concern.
Coun David Molyneux, the leader of Wigan Council, kick-started the campaign in Walmsley Park last week, planting the first batch of trees with pupils from Ince Primary School.
Proposals for the area will see 6,300 trees planted – equating to one for every person under the age of 18 and over 65 within the ward. Another 7,000 trees will be planted in Alexandra Park.
Coun Molyneux said: “The world needs more trees, not only are they vital as a home for wildlife and nature, they improve the quality of our air, reduce flood risks and absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
“But it’s not just a case of responding to climate change, it’s about increasing our biodiversity and making our borough a cleaner and greener place to live.
“That’s why we are making the pledge of one million trees by 2030 and 80,000 in the next year – one for every young person in the borough.”
The latest efforts follow on from the council’s support for the Big Climate Fightback in November when 500 free trees were distributed to groups of volunteers and communities as part of National Tree Week.
Tulisa, 11, is part of Ince Primary School’s eco club and was there on Friday to start the planting.
She said: “I think it’s a good idea to plant new trees as trees help us in lots of different ways such as providing us with oxygen and giving homes to lots of different creatures. It’s important to help the environment. We do loads of things in our school eco club to help, such as recycling and we made a bug hotel.”
Residents told us in the Deal 2030 Big Listening Project how important a cleaner, greener and more sustainable place to live was to them.
That is why the council will this year be organising its inaugural Green Summit and holding its latest Eco-Schools Conference in the autumn which engages children from an early age on the importance of becoming more environmentally friendly.
Coun Molyneux added: “As a council we are committed to working towards our green ambitions and that is why adding new trees in the borough is essential.
“The impact of climate change is already causing serious damage around the world and authorities at national, regional and local all have a duty to act.
“This is just the beginning of the council’s efforts to ensure residents benefit from better air quality and a more sustainable future.”
Last year council bosses also decided to take urgent environmental action and declared a climate emergency.
Working with GM neighbours and other key stakeholders, the council aspires to be carbon-neutral by 2038 or sooner.