Around 620 trees have been planted in unused ground in Petersfield Cemetery as part of East Hampshire District Council’s project to see 120,000 trees planted around the district. 

The trees were planted in a corner of the cemetery where the earth is too wet to take graves. 

The species chosen – a mix of maple, alder, larch, wild cherry, crab apple, oak and birch – will do well in the wet conditions, said the council, and will, in time, create an attractive copse.  

As part of the local authority’s climate emergency declaration in 2019, it pledged to see 120,000 trees planted across East Hampshire – one for every resident in the district. 

So far the council says around 56,000 trees have been pledged to be planted, through planning requirements, agreements with local landowners and community-run schemes. 

The planting in Petersfield Cemetery represents the biggest planting on EHDC-owned land so far – with, said the council, more to come soon. 

Cllr Julie Butler, the EHDC deputy leader, was on hand to plant the final tree last week. 

She said: “Our tree-planting project is a great way to improve the local environment and increase local biodiversity. 

“I am delighted we have been able to plant these trees at Petersfield Cemetery to join the thousands that have been planted all around the district by our partners.” 

Cllr Robert Mocatta, EHDC’s portfolio holder for regeneration and prosperity, said: “It’s wonderful to have the chance to help plant these trees on our own land.

“This land can’t really be used for anything else, so we’re delighted to be able to find such a worthwhile purpose for it and provide all these new trees right in the middle of Petersfield.” 

The council says the benefits of planting trees include: 

Clean air – the canopies of trees act as a physical filter, trapping dust and absorbing pollutants from the air. Each individual mature tree removes up to 1.7 kilograms of pollutants every year, protecting our lungs. 

Heat sinks – it’s estimated trees can reduce the temperature in a city by up to 7°C, reducing some of the need for air conditioning. 

Biodiversity – A mature oak can be home to as many as 500 different species.