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Environment / Bell’s Brae pupils help port authority restart tree planting scheme

Rewilding an area of Lerwick Harbour estate: (back) Amy Inkster, Lerwick Port Authority HSEQ assistant, and Paul Goddard, Shetland Amenity Trust’s woodland supervisor, with Bell’s Brae Primary School pupils, twins Ozzy and Patty Mason from P4. Photo: Dave Donaldson

LERWICK Port Authority says it has scaled up its annual tree planting efforts to compensate for the Covid-19 pandemic forcing the suspension of the initiative last year.

Around 70 trees and shrubs donated by the authority were planted today (25 May) at Holmsgarth Road in Lerwick by pupils from Bell’s Brae Primary School who are currently involved in a “Living Things” project.

The port had participated in planting around 20 trees annually since 2017, but it has usually been within the grounds of Bell’s Brae and new Anderson High School.

This week, the primary pupils moved on to rewilding an unused area of the port estate.

Lerwick Port Authority HSEQ manager Stuart Wadley said: “With no planting last year because of Covid, we’ve upped the number of trees and shrubs donated. It is an excellent, environmentally-friendly way for us to more-than-offset our usage of paper – usually the equivalent of 12 trees annually.

“There are other benefits, including [that] it’s good for carbon capture, will encourage wildlife in a barren, grassed area, and reduce grass cutting and so use of fossil fuels.”

Most of the species planted are hardy and include native varieties that thrive in the Shetland climate, creating an attractive wooded habitat on the town’s outskirts, which will encourage pollinating bees and insects.

The trees have been provided by the Shetland Amenity Trust and its woodlands team provided advice and support for the planting as part of their conservation and cultivation programme in the islands.