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New memorial woodland to be created in Suffolk in memory of those lost in coronavirus crisis

PUBLISHED: 07:34 10 July 2020

New woodland is to be planted in Suffolk to remember those who died during the coronavirus pandemic, as part of a pledge to increase tree planting. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

New woodland is to be planted in Suffolk to remember those who died during the coronavirus pandemic, as part of a pledge to increase tree planting. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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Plans to create a new woodland space in memory of those who died after contracting Covid-19 have won the backing of councillors.

Richard Rout, Suffolk County Council cabinet member for environment and public protection said the healing wood will provide space for people to reflect and remember loved ones. Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCILRichard Rout, Suffolk County Council cabinet member for environment and public protection said the healing wood will provide space for people to reflect and remember loved ones. Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

A motion was presented to Suffolk County Council’s full council meeting on Thursday afternoon by Conservative cabinet member for environment, Richard Rout, to increase tree planting across the county.

As part of that, a ‘healing wood’ will be created in honour of those who died during the coronavirus pandemic and to provide a space for people to remember their loved ones.

The motion was unanimously approved, meaning officers will now go away and pursue detailed plans.

Mr Rout said: “We are living in an historic time, a time of huge loss to families, communities, nations and the world.

Councillor Penny Otton from the Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent group said the space would be important for people's mental health. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNCouncillor Penny Otton from the Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent group said the space would be important for people's mental health. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“It is a time we cannot pass without marking it and paying tribute to those who lost their lives.

“We intend to begin exploring with our partners the intention of creating a healing wood in Suffolk to support our communities from the consequences of Covid-19, a place where generations to come can take refuge from their daily lives and reflect on this time, and remember those who have lost their lives.”

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The motion was been backed by all the political groups.

It is not yet clear whether the healing wood will be one woodland space or several, or which locations may be considered, with further work on options now set to take place.

The council confirmed the new trees being planted, both as part of the healing wood and those elsewhere in the county, would be managed and maintained, and would work alongside district and borough councils on areas appropriate for planting.

Councillor Penny Otton, from the Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent group, said it would be “essential for people that have, over the last few months, suffered from serious mental health problems.”

The motion includes plans for the council to increase tree planting on its own estate, and in other district and boroughs under the mantra “right tree, right place” to ensure they can be managed.

It aims to form a part of the council’s response to the climate emergency and encourage biodiversity as well as the social benefits.


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