More than 2,000 Christmas trees were donated to locals at St Anne’s beach last year where the trees are used to make sand dunes
Christmas trees dumped on streets are not only a sad reminder the festive season is over, but it is also bad for the environment.
In fact, out of the eight million bought each year, an estimated seven million are thrown out in the new year, adding up to a huge carbon footprint.
But along the Fylde coast, over 10,000 old Christmas trees have been put to use to help protect the area from the growing threat of erosion and flooding.
Over the last 150 years, more than 80% of the sand dunes in Lancashire, crucial for flood defences, have been lost taking with them species such as the rare natterjack toad. Just 80 hectares remain.
The dunes are also home to 280 plants and over 150 species of butterflies and moths.
Last week more than 2,000 Christmas trees donated by locals were put into trenches by volunteers at St Anne’s beach, the 10th year of the project.
The trees are placed with the top halves sticking out so that as more sand is blown by the waves, it will catch on the branches, eventually creating dunes.
It is hoped the Fylde Sand Dunes Project, which has just received funding for five more years, will protect nearly 500 homes from coastal erosion and many from flooding by acting as a natural barrier to the Irish sea.
Since 2018, over 400 captive-bred sand lizard hatchlings, one of the UK’s rarest reptiles, have also been released into the dunes.
Similar projects have taken place in Formby, Merseyside, Newquay in Cornwall, Aberystwyth, Dyfed, and also on the Gulf Coast of Texas in the US.
Project Officer Amy Pennington, from Lancashire Wildlife Trust, said the local nature reserve and homes would be covered in sand without the new dunes.
Campaign manager Alan Wright added: “It is a great conservation project, volunteers can see results year on year.
“The smooth, well-shaped dunes are obvious to see and on stormy days you understand how they are real lines of protection.”