Harrogate District Climate Change Coalition response to Rotary Wood planning application

24 January 2021

Harrogate District Climate Change Coalition was set up in response to Harrogate Borough Council’s 2019 notice of motion supporting measures to address the climate emergency. The Coalition promotes rapid greenhouse gas reduction activities throughout the Harrogate District. To avoid using up our fair share of the global amount of carbon which can be emitted without exceeding 1.5OC global temperature rise, we need to deliver the majority of local carbon cuts during the next ten years 1.

Chair of Communications and Engagement for the Coalition, Kirsty Hallett, says: 

The Coalition is not currently mandated to take a position on individual planning applications but has submitted a neutral statement in response to the Rotary Wood planning application which provides an illustration of the vital role of local woodlands as they relate to carbon emissions.

Increased woodland cover in Harrogate District is a necessary part of the route to net zero CO2 emissions because trees capture atmospheric carbon. Planting new woodlands in partnership with the White Rose Forest is a live Harrogate Borough Council work area, which feeds into the Coalition’s action plan.

Harrogate Borough Council’s Tree and Woodland Policy 2016-2021 2 confirms the importance of trees for the mitigation of climate change. For example, paragraph 3.4:

“To facilitate an increasing tree population within the Harrogate district, in order to reduce atmospheric carbon via capture and storage (sequestration) and mitigate climate change locally.”

Iron Gates Wood, adjacent to Rotary Wood, was planted in order to offset (or compensate for) the unavoidable emissions from Harrogate International Conference Centre.

Mature trees sequester more carbon than younger plants. The amount varies with the trees, soil and planting space 3.

Figures calculated using the UK Government approved Woodland Carbon Code show that “by the end of 2020 Rotary wood had already sequestered more than 237 tonnes of CO2. By 2027 the growing trees will have sequestered over 362 tonnes of CO2. By 2038, the more mature wood will have sequestered over 620 tonnes of CO2” 4 .

Compensation planting of 5.2ha in addition to the proposed 1.05ha would need to be planted in the season of 2021/22 in order to provide the same carbon capture benefit of the existing Rotary Wood by 2038 4.

To find out more about the work of Harrogate District Climate Change Coalition please visit www.hdccc.info


Gouldson, A. Sudmant, A. Duncan, A. (2019). “A summary carbon roadmap for Harrogate”. Place-based Climate Action Network, https://pcancities.org.uk/

Harrogate Borough Council (2016), “Tree and Woodland Policy 2016 – 2021”. https://www.harrogate.gov.uk/downloads/file/2724/trees-and-woodland-policy-2016-2021

Berners-Lee, M. (2020) “How Bad are Bananas?”

Forster and Gugan (2020). “Carbon losses from the proposed Rotary wood felling and compensation options.” http://www.pinewoodsconservationgroup.org.uk/sites/default/files/pdf/Modelling%20the%20carbon%20losses%20of%20Rotary%20Wood%2023.01.21.pdf

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