South Tyneside Council officers provided the update on work being carried out in “investing in their natural environment” to help tackle the impact of climate change and global warming.
The council previously declared a Climate Change Emergency in July 2019, pledging to take all necessary steps to make the authority carbon neutral by 2030.
Kelly Crews, council carbon reduction and sustainability manager, speaking at Monday’s meeting of Hebburn Community Area Forum (CAF), highlighted the importance of projects such as tree planting being undertaken.
She said: “Fundamentally it’s now that there is an urgent need for change, I can’t emphasise that enough, but the council has already acknowledged that.
“We are as a team really trying to engage the wider community in terms of understanding the impacts of climate change and global warming.”
In 2018/19 the council planted 5,332 trees, followed by a further 3,961 in 2019/20, and the authority strives towards planting 3,000 trees per year.
The project is aiming to plant 500 hectares of trees by 2025, including 25ha of trees in the first year, with South Tyneside committed to planting 150 trees in parks and greenspaces in 2021/22.
And scores of fruit trees have been planted in the grounds of South Tyneside schools under another council initiative, which chiefs say will also benefit wildlife as well as help show children where food comes from.
South Tyneside Council will also be delivering a range of tree planting events across the borough as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy initiative to support the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Ms Crews added South Tyneside Council will deliver a local climate summit this year, taking place 1st November – 5th November 2021.
She said this will coincide with the UK hosting the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties in Glasgow on 31 October – 12 November 2021.
She added: “Without everybody coming together we can’t do this.
“We can do it and there is an opportunity for change in the future but we do have to act and we do have to act now.”
Cllr Wilf Flynn, chair of Hebburn CAF, noted while the issue is nothing new, it’s possible that some people have not got the message.
He said: “Some people won’t grasp what climate change is all about, but when you see flooding from Germany through Belgium, it gives you a good idea.
“You see parts of America burning, and parts of America flooding, there’s definitely a big problem, and we know that within the borough we’ve got ways and means to try and hit our targets.”
Councillors also stressed the importance of ensuring trees are planted in appropriate places and cause no harm or interference to residents.