Plant A Tree In MK3

 

An idea for a community project in 2020

In the very early 1970’s Britain lost many tress due to Dutch Elm Disease. The government came up with PLANT A TREE IN ’73 encouraging people to plant trees in their gardens. This catchy phrase and the thinking behind it were such a success it was followed by PLANT SOME MORE IN ’74.

Although the government announced in January 1969 an area of land was to be designated for the building of a new city these were the early days in the actual construction of Milton Keynes and the government scheme was not part of the development. However, within the planning this was to be MILTON KEYNES THE CITY OF TREES. In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s Milton Keynes Development Corporation gave every home a voucher for a tree to plant in the garden.  MILTON KEYNES THE CITY OF TREES. Within this there was an edict that NO BUILDING SHALL BE TALLER THAN THE SURROUNDING TREES. Sadly Milton Keynes Council has trashed that and  is currently amplifying within Central Milton Keynes the abandonment of the Development Corporation’s foundation stone. Milton Keynes does not at this moment hold a city charter so is the city that never was but a formal application has been made for a city charter within the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebration. There are TWENTY-TWO MILLION TREES IN MILTON KEYNES. City or not, there are few towns, cities or villages anywhere can match the achievement of Milton Keynes.

However, overall Great Britain has the lowest tree population per square mile of any country in Europe !  Milton Keynes is the exception.  Trees are the lungs of the world, A typical tree can absorb around 46 pounds of carbon dioxide per year. This figure is only achieved when the tree is fully grown - saplings will absorb significantly less than this BUT over a lifetime of 100 years, one tree could absorb around a tonne of CO2. An average car will produce about 10 ounces of CO2 per mile.

Even with twenty-two million trees Milton Keynes has a huge carbon footprint ! West Bletchley has a significantly lower footprint than the borough overall but it is way short of being carbon neutral. West Bletchley is the second largest parish in Milton Keynes in terms of population, with 22,213 people, and nearly 9,000 households at the time of the census in 2011. In terms of area, at about 620 hectares, it is the sixth largest urban parish in the country. (These figures are 10 years old, I have not been able to secure up to date population numbers but I doubt they are significantly larger than these. For round figures I am going to work on 10,000 households and 25,000 people.)

THE QUEEN’S GREEN CANOPY is a tree planting initiative created to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022. Everyone across the UK is being invited to plant trees from October 2021, when the tree planting season begins, through to the end of the Jubilee year in 2022.  I am proposing a project to inspire residents in MK3 to plant a tree for every household, i.e. 10,000 trees. This to be done between Saturday 1st January 2022 and Monday 31st December 2022. The target to be achieved by residents, schools, businesses and community groups coming together.

I am here sharing this idea with areas of likely interest to see if the idea can be turned into an operational project.

·       The MK3 BLETCHLEY CHIT CHAT Facebook group has 3,500 members and could play a significant role in making this happen. Milton Keynes noes not have an effective media upon which the project could rely, if it goes ahead social media will have a major role to play.

·       Community and sports organisations within the parish will have a role to play.

·   Sponsored events could be organised to fund trees. Organised by groups or individuals. Perhaps as we are dealing with an environment issue a sponsored litter-pick would be a good idea.

·       Businesses will have their part. Perhaps if not being able to plant trees on their premises they could fund planting in other areas. Retail outlets could have collecting boxes on their counters, not only would this provide additional income but their presence would be a source of raising public awareness. Collecting boxes cost around £5 each on Amazon.

·    Schools could make this a major project, something inspiring for their students. Schools also have large areas of land which could accommodate trees.

·       Trees could be dedicated to loved ones.

·      West Bletchley Council. I was proud to serve on the council for eighteen months during which time I was the only councillor to put in 100% attendance at meetings. I resigned at the end of February 2021. I have the highest regard and respect for the team, headed by Clerk Helen Hupton, running the council’s operation. If this project goes ahead we will need to work with the council. There are open areas within West Bletchley where trees could be planted, these can only be brought into any planting programme by working with the council and its staff.

The Milton Keynes Parks Trust and The Woodland Trust: We need at a very early stage to make contact with The Milton Keynes Parks Trust Campbell Park Pavilion 1300 Silbury Boulevard Milton Keynes MK9 4AD The Woodland Trust Kempton Way Grantham Lincolnshire NG31 6LL. The former being local could offer important  help and advice while the later will have a wider area of expertise. We need via these organisations to be able to source saplings at the right price.

Garden Centres: There is not a garden centre with West Bletchley but within the greater area of Milton Keynes there are three whose advice and help could be significant:

Frosts Garden Centre:  Newport Road Woburn Sands Milton Keynes MK17 8UE – A family firm founded in and still centred in Milton Keynes

Woburn Emporium: Newport Road Woburn Sands Milton Keynes MK17 8UF

Dobbies Garden Centre: Belvedere Lane Watling Street Bletchley Milton Keynes MK17 9JH

Milton Keynes Council Members: It would be a matter of courtesy to advise Milton Keynes council members representing MK3:

Adam Rolfe (West Bletchley)

Lauren Townsend (West Bletchley)

Michael Legg (West Bletchley)

Mo Imran (Bletchley Park)

Nabeel Nazir (Bletchley Park)

Allan Rankine (Bletchley Park)

I have included these persons by way of courtesy. I am proposing an independent community project. If any wish on a personal basis to be involved that would be very good but such must be void of any political influence. Given Milton Keynes Council as a corporate body destroying the fundamental principle of Milton Keynes development Corporation that no building shall be taller than the surrounding trees, something it continues to trash on a regular basis within its planning process, I would suggest it is not a fit and proper body to have a stake in this community project.

Grant: ALL money given to plan trees must be so directed. NO costs can be deducted for expenses. However, expenses there will be so we need to be sure from the outset

that such can be met. There are bodies we could approach for grant funding. Pease see APPENDIX at the end of this proposal. I will donate all royalties from the sales of my book THE MURDER TREE towards expenses.

 https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0977LRBX5I

I will also undertake to personally meet any funding shortfall from my  own pocket.

VIP guests: There will be celebrities who would be interested in the project. It is possible The Royal Family may send a member to be part of a tree planting. It is important we issue any invitations as soon as possible.

What’s next - Organising group – Schedule: If we are going to make this happen we are going to need a small, enthusiastic, hard-working and dedicated team. Without this nothing is going to happen. We need, in my opinion, to have this team in place by Sunday 31st October 2021. This will then give two  months in which to put flesh on the bones of this idea enabling it to launch on 1st January. Within this team there will need to be a dedicated person to take charge of finance and accounting.

I would repeat and stress this proposal if for a one off community project, it is not to set up a trust or charity nor an arm of a council. People will give of their time at all levels throughout the project free of charge and without any personal or political interest.

If this is of interest to you I would invite you to contact me:

David J B Ashford dashford566@gmail.com

Providing there is sufficient interest by Sunday 31st October 2021 I will arrange for an initial brainstorming meeting to take things forward – TO PLANT A TREE IN MK3

Declaration of interest: My son is head of the government department monitoring local authorities and public bodies with regard to biodiversity and global warming. This is not the reason for my proposing this activity, I have been concerned and have campaigned for many years to protect our planet.

My wife runs the West Bletchley Community Association in Porchester Close.

I moved to Milton Keynes in September 1971 and have lived in the parish ever since.

APPENDIX:

Dave’s writing challenge:

I have been writing stories and news reports since I was a teenager. I had dreams of fame and fortune but now I simply write for my own fun and enjoyment.

My first book was published in traditional paperback format in 1992. In 2016 I was accepted as an Amazon Author. My bookshelf can be found at:

www.maxrobinsonwriter.com

Max Robinson is obviously my pen-name. Max is the name of my childhood pet at Robinson

my eccentric grandfather.

Being involved in so many community projects my output slowed, I promised myself that in 2020 I would spend more time writing.

Then came the pandemic and lockdown !

It was hard to go from working 60 hours a week to nothing, writing kept me sane ! During 2020 I wrote  528,254 words which were published on Amazon in 15 e-books.

Barbra Cartland set a world record when she published 23 books in a single year. For 2021 I set myself a challenge to beat that record. I would publish 24 e-books within which there would be a minimum of one million words. I achieved that goal in June !  I did not submit a challenge to The Guinness Book of Records to take the crown away from Barbra Cartland. The  publishers may well say that e-books and paperback novels are different things. Instead I set my self a new challenge to claim the title being the most prolific Amazon Author.

I probably already unofficially hold that title but intend to confirm it across three years: 1st January 2020 to 31st December 2022. Within these three years I will write a minimum of five million words published within a minimum of two hundred e-books.

I still write for fun, I most certainly do not want fame although I probably would not say NO to fortune ! You can check my Amazon Bookshelf at: www.maxrobinsonwriter.com

 

 

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