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Harbour Way to take part in Trees Project for Port Talbot

15 March 2013

Residents in the Margam and Taibach areas of Port Talbot are being offered a free tree for their gardens as part of a project to make the town cleaner and greener.

Council Leader Cllr. Ali Thomas digs in at the community tree planting event with, from left: Cllr. John Rogers, David Rees AM, Cllr. Rob Jones and pupils from Dyffryn Upper Comprehensive School.

A community day was held at Dyffryn Upper Comprehensive School on Friday to launch the Talbot Trees project, an initiative to improve air quality and health by planting 1,100 of the trees that are most effective at removing pollutants.

At the event Council Leader Ali Thomas and David Rees AM joined councillors and local residents in rolling up their sleeves and picking up spades to plant 170 young trees. It was the first of two such events, with the second to be held at Harbour Way later this month.

The idea sprouted from a community event held last March, where attendees made a range of suggestions for ways to improve air quality and planting trees was voted one of the most popular.

Organisers Neath Port Talbot Local Service Board are hoping the project will grow further by offering householders in Margam and Taibach a free tree for their own gardens. A variety of species are available, with residents able to choose from Hawthorn, Hazel, Mountain Ash, Wild Cherry, Holly and Crab Apple.

Trees and woodland improve air quality by absorbing pollutants and dust and releasing oxygen. A large broad-leaved tree can catch dust and pollutants on its leaves and provide enough oxygen for the daily needs of 10 people.

The Local Service Board set up the Air Quality Project in 2009 to deliver improvements to air quality. It is a partnership between several agencies including representatives from Neath Port Talbot Council, Welsh Government, the Environment Agency Wales, Forestry Commission Wales, the Health Board and Public Health Wales.

The project team is also currently conducting a survey on trees and green spaces in the Margam and Taibach area. Residents can share their views by visiting www.npt.gov.uk/coedtalbottrees.

Mary Youell, Environment Agency Wales, said: “Air quality in Port Talbot has improved a lot but there is still more for us to do. Trees are great at scrubbing pollution from the air and so can have a positive impact on health.”

“By planting 1,100 trees in the Air Quality Management Area – Margam and Taibach – we can make further improvements to air quality and to people’s health.”

Council Leader Cllr Ali Thomas said: “Neath Port Talbot Local Service Board has been working hard over the last four years to make improvements to the air quality in Neath Port Talbot. Its efforts have included a focus on the Margam and Taibach areas. The council is proud to be part of the tree planting project and will always seek to work with the community to improve air quality.”

Talbot Trees is funded by the Welsh Government ‘Tranquil, Greener and Cleaner Spaces’ grant scheme and also by the Environment Agency’s ‘Making a Difference’ funding programme.

The next community tree planting day will take place at the new Harbour Way road on Thursday 21st March, from 1.30pm to 4.30pm. The meeting point is the Costain Harbour Way site offices, North Bank rd, Port Talbot and a minibus will take people to and from the planting site. This means there is limited availability for the event and so anyone interested is encouraged to sign up to ensure a space.

Margam and Taibach residents interested in having a free tree to plant in their garden or share their views on trees and green spaces in the area; or anyone wanting to register for the planting event, should call 01639 686845, email greener@npt.gov.uk or visit www.npt.gov.uk/coedtalbottrees.

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