The Benefits of an Organised Community

This might seem like a departure from the usual topic of fracking – but is it?

On Saturday 21st January 2017 there was an event held at the Countess of Chester Country Park (in Chester, NorthWest UK) to plant 3,000 trees as a community woodland.

Alocal councillor used part of his members budget to purchase the trees, the Mersey Forest  kindly added £10,000 to provide the planning, tools and expertise in an area which has been identified and agreed by the Land Trust. This will create much needed wet woodland but not affect any proposed works at Finchett’s Gutter, which carries most of the watershed from the Chester area into the River Dee.

This is one of several projects that have come about since the Frack Free campaign started growing in the Frack Free Dee area. The basic premise of the FFD coalition was to raise awareness about fracking and to help set up community groups in areas under threat. Not only is an organised local group the best defense against the fracking industry, once these groups are started up and organised, people become skilled and can organise themselves to tackle other problems within their own community.

Councillor Bryan himself was voted into Cheshire West & Chester council on the back of his part in the frack-free campaign, and this tre planting is an initiative that he has set up in his role as a councilor. Also, as I took part in the tree planting, I was actually surprised at how many of the frack-free community had turned up to take part and feel ownership of this part of the community.  I know many of the people there from Frack Free Little Stanney, Frack Free Upton, Frack Free Tarvin, Ellesmere Port Frack Free, including myself, had not previously got involved in community projects before.

Campaigns such as the Frack Free movement can have a beneficial effect way outside of its immediate area of concern. Being part of a coalition also gives more opportunities to share skills and arrange training days and workshops that, if taken onboard can enhance our lives and the lives of those around us.

Out of the local frack free campaign, several other initiatives have sprung up, including the formation of a kitchen to feed the homeless, and also quite a few people have got involved in the badger cull and other activities around animal cruelty. People come into the movement for various reasons, but the general trend seems to be that this opens their eyes to how our society works, how the system seems to serve itself and not the people. It gets harder to turn a blind eye, people start to value nature and respect the natural world. People become empowered to take action (such as this) to make the world a better place.

On and off through the day there were about 200 people and planted a massive 2000 trees! There must have been between 20-30 people from the frack free groups in the area in attendance today, it was at times like a big reunion!

Interested in trees?…..

Led by the Woodland Trust, more than 50 organisations from across multiple sectors, are standing together to call for a Charter for Trees, Woods and People. 

Through collecting stories about what trees and woods mean to people, we are building a picture of their value to everyone in the UK.  These stories will be used to create a set of guiding principles, around which the charter will be written. The final Charter for Trees, Woods and People will  influence policy and practice and celebrate the role that trees and woods play in our lives. 

The new charter will launch on November 6th 2017, the 800th anniversary of the Charter of the Forest.

For more information about how to get involved with the Charter for Trees, please see for details, or to see if there are any events going on near you.

If there isn’t you could become a Charter Champion yourself…a handbook on how to do this can be read here –


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