Community Effort Leads to Coastal Defence Boost with Christmas Tree Initiative in St Annes

In a remarkable display of environmental stewardship, the Lancashire Wildlife Trust, in partnership with Fylde Council and dedicated volunteers, is set to enhance the coastal defences of St Annes by planting hundreds of used Christmas trees in the sand dunes.

This innovative project, scheduled to commence on Monday, 05 February, aims to protect and expand the dunes north of St Annes, leveraging the festive season’s remnants for ecological benefit.

The annual Christmas Tree planting ceremony, a testament to creative conservation efforts, will see trees collected from various sources, including Derian House Children’s Hospice in Chorley and Trinity Hospice on the Fylde coast, as well as from local council collection points.

These trees will be strategically placed in areas of the dunes identified as vulnerable or capable of accretion, buried in deep trenches to ensure their stability.

Paul Whitehead first volunteered on the Christmas tree project a decade ago Image Source: Skynews

Paul Whitehead works at Blackpool Zoo and has been digging these trenches every year for the last decade. He looks over to the dunes that are now so tall they obscure the town behind.

This method has proven to be an effective natural solution to coastal erosion.

As wind-blown sand gathers around the anchored trees, new embryo dunes form, gradually expanding the dune system and enhancing the area’s natural defences against the sea.

The initiative not only recycles the Christmas trees in an environmentally friendly manner but also contributes significantly to the preservation and protection of the coastline.

Amy Pennington, the Fylde Sand Dunes Project Community Engagement Officer for the Lancashire Wildlife Trust, has praised the project’s success, noting a remarkable 90m expansion of the dune system at North Beach, St Annes, as a direct result of the scheme.

Pennington’s comments highlight the project as a prime example of how community involvement and innovative thinking can lead to substantial environmental improvements.

This initiative underscores the importance of sustainable practices and community engagement in tackling environmental challenges.

By turning a seasonal symbol into a tool for ecological preservation, the project not only safeguards the coastline but also raises awareness of the importance of dune ecosystems.

The Christmas Tree planting ceremony in St Annes exemplifies how collective action and environmental consciousness can lead to meaningful change, ensuring the beauty and safety of the coast for future generations.

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