HAMPSHIRE communities are being encouraged to apply for funding to plant disease-resistant elm trees and help revitalise a once-endemic species.

This nature recovery effort results from a Tree Council grant secured by the Hampshire County Council’s Forest Partnership and has already supported the planting of 1,205 resistant elms.

Cllr Russell Oppenheimer, the county council’s cabinet member for countryside, said: "The English countryside was once dominated by elms, but since the 1960s these majestic trees have been ravaged by Dutch elm disease accidently introduced to Europe in the early 20th century.

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"The disease has killed nearly all the mature elms in Britain, an estimated toll of 60-100 million trees. With support from The Tree Council, we are taking positive steps to bring this iconic species back to Hampshire’s landscape as part of our plans to plant one million trees by 2050.

"We are inviting green-fingered communities to get behind the drive to reinstate elm trees. It’s a great opportunity to enhance local spaces and provide essential habitats for wildlife including tussock moths and white-letter hairstreak butterflies."

Enquiries for the 2024/25 planting season, starting from the autumn, are open now. Town and parish councils, local groups, and landowners can find more information on the Hampshire Forest Partnership webpage.