Funding of more than £400,000 will be used to deliver projects across Hertfordshire to make the county “cleaner, greener and healthier”.

Hertfordshire County Council announced the funding at a full council meeting on Tuesday and says it represents one of the “biggest financial commitments so far” to areas including improving air quality, reducing waste, increasing biodiversity and protecting wildlife.

Eric Buckmaster, executive member for Environment at Hertfordshire County Council, said the investment will help Hertfordshire have clean air for all by 2030, improve wildlife by 20 per cent by 2030 and send nothing to landfill by 2030.

“We are committed to making our county cleaner, greener and healthier for all those who live, work and visit,” he said.

“In July 2019 we declared a climate emergency, committing to reducing our organisational carbon emissions and improving sustainability across the county.

“I am delighted to be able to announce this funding for important projects, which are but a few of the ways we are practically responding to and tackling climate change in the county.

“I am excited to see what differences this important work makes to our bustling communities and countryside, enabling them to thrive for many generations to come.”

Projects given the green light include:

  • £200,000 to fund and coordinate Hertfordshire’s Queen’s Green Canopy contribution
  • £150,000 towards making primary schools carbon neutral by 2030
  • £100,000 for state-of-the-art software to monitor and tackle air quality
  • £10,000 towards making the county council’s office waste services more environmentally sustainable

The Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC) is a UK-wide tree planting initiative to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022 by inviting people to ‘Plant a tree for the Jubilee’.

The county council is co-ordinating Hertfordshire’s response, on behalf of the Lord Lieutenant, Robert Voss, including encouraging and enabling as many trees to be planted on its own sites as possible.

Cllr Annie Brewster, Platinum Jubilee Vice-Chairman, said: “This is a wonderful project in celebration of the achievements of Her Majesty and we all want to make sure Hertfordshire plants as much canopy cover as possible.

“The recommended time to plant trees is October through to March, so businesses, schools, community groups, towns, villages and individuals can use the summer to plan their Jubilee tree planting projects and be ready for October.

“We want Hertfordshire to lead the way in planting trees and enhancing our already green, leafy county, making it a healthy place to live and a place where nature thrives. We cannot wait to see social media sprouting with images of newly planted trees and hedges”