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Athletics club gives green plans a head start

Posted on 26 Aug 2021
NAAC tree planting

A local athletics club has made a valuable donation in support of North Ayrshire Council’s wider carbon busting environmental projects.

North Ayrshire Athletics Club has donated £350 towards community tree planting – forming part of a wider strategy to help tackle climate change.  

The money has been set aside from the Club’s revenue from their upcoming Festival of Running and 10K race, taking place on Sunday, September 5.

In previous years, this money would have been used to purchase t-shirts for those taking part in the annual event. However, the Club decided that this year they would like to use it to contribute towards sustainable, environmental projects that enhance the local community.

Their donation will see a number of new trees planted in the Three Towns area, along with a dedicated plaque.

Kirsteen Brown, President of North Ayrshire Athletics Club, said: “As a club, we are always striving to do more to help the community we serve.  Our volunteers and club members are involved in a number of community initiatives to help develop North Ayrshire and provide opportunities for people to thrive on and off the athletics track.  

“Our annual festival of running (NAAC10k) event is a great opportunity to promote sustainable sporting events and despite the restrictions of covid, we were delighted to support the council’s ambitious tree planting programme and look forward to developing our Tree’s not Tee’s project over the coming years.” 

The Council has been supporting local groups in their development of tree planting projects including environmental group, F.R.I.E.N.D.S.

Iain Hamlin, Secretary of F.R.I.E.N.D.S, said: “We are currently working with the Council on a variety of projects to establish community orchards, plant new woodlands and create a variety of grassland and wetland habitats in several greenspaces in North Ayrshire.

“The Stevenston Beach Park project is already paying dividends in terms of biodiversity enhancement, with new wild areas playing host to lots of wildlife – from small, subtle creatures such as mining bees and ground beetles, to more spectacular additions such as barn owls.”

This work is aligned to the Council’s new tree planting strategy, ‘North Ayrshire’s 2030 Woodland’, with the aim of planting 108,000 new trees across North Ayrshire by 2030.

The tree planting programme will create a new woodland resource to support the Council’s wider ambitions of becoming ‘net-zero’ by 2030 in response to the climate change emergency.  It is hoped that tree planting will be completed by the 2025/26 growing season to ensure that saplings are well on their way to maturity by the 2030 target. 

In the last five years alone, carbon emissions have reduced by over 28 per cent within the Council’s estate following the introduction of a wide range of ambitious carbon reduction projects. However, it is recognised that carbon absorption is also an important tool in tackling climate change and that’s where tree planting is beneficial.

Councillor Jim Montgomerie, Cabinet Member for Green New Deal and Sustainability, said: “It is tremendous news that North Ayrshire Athletics Club wishes to contribute to help make North Ayrshire a greener and healthier place for everyone. It shows just how deeply they care about our local communities.

“Their donation will allow new trees to be planted in the Three Towns which will not only enhance the natural landscape, but also help absorb carbon from the environment.

“Climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing the world and we all have a part to play in helping to tackle the issue.”