Jan 8 2013 by Andrew Brown, Formby Times
Record number of Christmas trees will help fight coastal erosion in Formby
A RECORD number of Christmas trees will be donated to the National Trust to help the battle against the erosion of Formby’s internationally important sand dunes.
The trees, which are expected to number more than 5,000, have been provided by home enhancement retailer Homebase. Employees from the local Formby and Southport stores are expected to volunteer to help replant them.
The team at Formby has been accepting donations of Christmas trees for a number of years from local residents and businesses and this is the second time they have received a contribution on this scale. The trees will be used to create more than a mile of brush fencing, placing the trees in rows where the dunes are most vulnerable. The aim is to slow down and catch sand to help build up the dunes.
In the coming months, the trees will gradually be buried, helping to hold the dunes together.
Andrew Brockbank, countryside manager for the National Trust at Formby, said: “Formby is part of the beautiful Sefton Coast and dune system with its typical dune habitats and wildlife of national and European significance.
“Our dunes are under constant pressure from the forces of wind and tide, and are actively building and moving inland as the coastline retreats at a rate of around four metres a year.
“We are trying to slow the sand as it blows across the dunes and these trees make an excellent material for building these brush fences to effectively trap sand in the dunes. The mobile dunes are a natural sea defence which help to buffer high tides and storm surges.”
Most people are familiar with Formby’s red squirrels but the Formby dunes are also home to a wealth of other rare and endangered wildlife.
Two such inhabitants are the Natterjack Toad, whose cacophonous chorus on mild May evenings carries over half a mile and earns it the nickname nearby of Birkdale Nightingale, as well as the Northern Dune Tiger Beetle which can only be found at two sites in the whole of Britain – Formby and the West Cumbrian coast.
Andrew said: “We are delighted that Homebase has decided to give us so many trees – this means that, with the help of our volunteers, we can create over a mile of brush fencing and help slow the erosion’s progress.
“If you have some time to spare, please come and help us with this vital conservation work”.
Paul Hilton, garden world operations manager at Homebase said: “This is a fantastic scheme that we are proud to be part of. At Homebase we are constantly committed to being a considerate and ethical retailer and this is a prime example of the work we strive to do.”
Please bring your Christmas tree to a ‘tree gathering’ session and volunteer planting sessions at the beach car park at Formby this Saturday (January 12) between 11am–2pm. Please wear appropriate clothing and footwear and bring a tough pair of gloves.