Page last updated at 10:20 GMT, Wednesday, 7 October 2009 11:20 UK

Bid to plant 40,000 native trees

Autumnwatch presenter Chris Packham wants people to get involved in the BBC's Tree O'Clock scheme

Time is running out for people to claim 40,000 free trees being handed out to residents, schools and community groups across Kent.

Parish and district councils have been urging everyone with planting space to claim their free trees or hedge mix since the scheme's launch this summer.

The deadline for people to apply for up to 25 trees each is 30 October.

If all 40,000 trees are planted, they could potentially absorb 280,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide in their lifetime.

The scheme has already operated in previous years in parts of Kent but this is the first year it is being offered across the whole county, to encourage planting of native trees, improve the landscape, boost biodiversity, and reduce carbon emissions.

Sevenoaks district councillor Avril Hunter said: "The free tree scheme is a great way to improve our landscape at no cost to our residents.

"Planting trees is not only good for local wildlife, it can also help in the fight to reduce our carbon emissions that contribute to global warming."

World record bid

People who apply can choose the number and species of tree, based on what kind of landscape they have.

Trees are being allocated on a first-come-first-served basis, and species include oak, ash, beech, hazel and other varieties.

Kent County Council said all people have to do is collect them, plant them, and care for them as they grow - 25 trees will pack into a bin bag and fit into the boot of a car.

People taking part are being encouraged to join the BBC Tree O'Clock scheme and plant a tree between 1100 and 1200 GMT on 5 December and break a world record.

Sponsors include councils across Kent and Network Rail, which has to remove vegetation from railway lines and has backed the scheme to show environmental responsibility.

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Parish and district councils are urging people to claim their trees and get them planted



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