Medway’s first, one-of-a-kind ‘movable forest’ has landed in a Chatham primary school, thanks to resident-led organisation Arches Local.

Working together with Medway Plus, a locally-based charity, we were successful in gaining funding in November 2019 from PostCode Local Trust for £10,000.00 together with £5,000.00 Big Local Match Funding totaling £15,000.00.

Partly due to the complications around COVID-19, we were not able to fully deliver the goals of the original Luton’s Urban Trees submission. This led to us not being able to plant as many street trees as originally planned. In March 2020, Postcode Local Trust announced that the funding we had received was considered unrestricted (with certain conditions in place).

With this announcement in mind, we developed a ‘movable forest’ concept of placing large trees in large containers that could be flexibly moved around the Luton area of Chatham. These trees were planned to be initially placed at a local primary school which has no discernible tree canopy, suffering from swathes of hard standing playgrounds.

We fully scoped out six feasible locations consisting of 3 x 1000 litre tree containers and 2 x 500 litre tree containers at the school and one test 1000 litre container at our community patch at the Great South Allotment, off Magpie Hall Road.

At the beginning of 2021, we completed the installation of the test tree – a James Malus apple tree at the Big Local community allotment. Together we then tested different methods in planting and securing the tree in preparation of the major installation of the larger trees at the school.

During the February 2021 half term, Arches Local is delighted to report on the successful installation of three cherry (Prunus Avium Plena) and two pear (Pyrus Calleryana Chanticleer) trees at the school.

We hope to employ this concept of tree planting in other locations across our Big Local area in the near future. If you know of any potential good location, please let us know via social media or by email!

Arches Local Coordinator Stephen Perez said that while they would have liked to and planned to plant more trees, they discovered that actually the type of tree, the location, and community involvement among other factors can be “equally if not just as important than simply the number of trees planted in an urban setting.”

“We hope that the movable forest will help combat climate change, clean up the air and lock in carbon dioxide in an area that continues to suffer from poor air quality,” he adds, “especially as local children return to school in a matter of weeks.”

For more information on any of our methods or to find out further details on our Luton Urban Trees project please get in touch with us.