Winter’s planting season has witnessed the successful addition of 350 trees to the local community, marking a significant stride in the Armley Gyratory improvement scheme. In tandem with the 206 trees planted the previous year, the tally now stands at an impressive 556 trees, well on course to surpass the target of 660 new trees for the scheme.

Volunteers, councillors, and the project team, orchestrated by Leeds City Council’s parks and countryside rangers, gathered at Armley Park last week to plant 10 Walnut trees. This comes on the heels of planting 139 trees near the Armley Gyratory and an additional 18 trees across the Clyde Estate in the ongoing planting season.

Extensive collaboration with local community groups, councillors, and resident consultations has guided the selection of locations and designs for off-site planting. The tree varieties include Maple, Lime, Hornbeam, Oaks, Walnut, fruit, and Cherry trees, ensuring a diverse and resilient urban forest.

However, as part of the broader Armley Gyratory scheme in January 2022, approximately 220 trees were removed to accommodate the new gyratory alignment and road and footpath widening. The removal aims to enhance visibility for pedestrians and cyclists, prioritizing safety in the area. The council is committed to replanting new trees at a three-to-one ratio, emphasizing the restoration of the green canopy.

Last autumn, highway construction work concluded, remodelling the Armley Gyratory to improve vehicle throughput at the junction. These changes are integral to a broader initiative to eliminate through traffic in the city centre, address environmental concerns, enhance neighborhood connectivity, and promote walking and cycling.

Phase two structures work on the three Armley Gyratory footbridges is progressing well. Recently, the council efficiently replaced the Gelderd Road footbridge over a single weekend, ahead of schedule.

Councillor Helen Hayden, Leeds City Council’s executive member for sustainable development and infrastructure, said; “I am delighted to see progress on the tree planting this season and to have been involved in planting more trees at Armley Park in connection to this major scheme. Thanks to the project team, construction partners, council officers, parks and countryside rangers, volunteers and their families, for helping with this.

“The 556 trees in total, mark a major milestone contributing to the total number of trees we need to plant. We have planted trees across Armley, Beeston, Holbeck, Chapel Allerton, Temple Newsam, Hunslet, Calverley and Farsley, including 196 next to the gyratory itself aiming to have a lasting impact. They will help to reduce carbon, encourage wildlife and act as habitats for many species.

“The gyratory’s location constrain planting many more trees there and so we have worked with the communities to identify more suitable locations, such as Beggars Hill, Clyde Estate and Armley Park.

“I would like to thank people for their patience while the ongoing footbridge works are carried out on the Armley Gyratory. I can’t wait to see the completion of this scheme later this year.”

Councillor Mohammed Rafique, executive member for climate, energy, environment and green space, said; “We all know the many benefits that the right trees, planted in the right places, can have.

“That’s why I am delighted to see hundreds more trees from so many different species go into the ground, in places that have been chosen by members of the local community.

“I’d like to thank everyone who volunteered their time and knowledge to make this possible.

“Whether by cooling our city on hot days, helping to prevent flooding, boosting our wellbeing, creating space for nature, improving beauty in an area, or their ability to remove planet-warming gases from the air; growing more trees is key to making Leeds a greener, healthier, and better place to live.”