County Council invites communities to bid for funding to plant disease resistant elms

In a boost for nature recovery, communities across Hampshire are being invited to apply for funding to plant disease resistant elm trees. The once abundant species has been decimated by disease in recent decades, but new varieties are now taking root across the county

Mar 19 2024

The initiative to support its comeback is possible thanks to a grant from The Tree Council secured by Hampshire County Council’s Forest Partnership. 

Councillor Russell Oppenheimer, the County Council’s Cabinet Member for Countryside, said: “The English countryside was once dominated by elms, but since the 1960s these majestic trees have been ravaged by Dutch elm disease accidently introduced to Europe in the early 20th century. The disease has killed nearly all the mature elms in Britain, an estimated toll of 60-100 million trees. With support from The Tree Council, we are taking positive steps to bring this iconic species back to Hampshire’s landscape as part of our plans to plant one million trees by 2050. We are inviting green-fingered communities to get behind the drive to reinstate elm trees. It’s a great opportunity to enhance local spaces and provide essential habitats for wildlife including tussock moths and white-letter hairstreak butterflies.”

The Hampshire Forest Partnership has already supported 1,205 disease resistant elm trees to be planted across Hampshire’s green spaces by farmers, landowners, and local communities. 

Enquiries are open now for the 2024/25 tree planting season which starts from the autumn. Organisations such as town and parish councils, local groups and landowners can find out more information including how to apply for disease resistant elms on the Hampshire Forest Partnership webpage.