Wirral, United Kingdom
City population: 319680
Duration: 2015 – ongoing
Implementation status: Ongoing
Scale: Micro-scale: District/neighbourhood level
Project area: unknown
Type of area: Other
Last updated: October 2021

North Wirral Coastal Rangers and volunteers are working together to plant discarded Christmas trees to stabilise sand dunes between Leasowe Bay and the Gunsite area of the North Wirral Coastal Park. The Christmas trees help to catch and trap sand blowing in from the beach and in a few years will create artificial dune shapes, benefiting plants and animals. (Ref. 1) In 2016 the Rangers and volunteers undertook a dune restoration project at the Gunsite. They advertised for the public to drop off their old Christmas trees at a collection point. The trees were then used to reinforce the dunes and trap sand. This was very successful and in 2017 they continued with the project, again with great success. In 2018 they ran a high profile social media campaign using Twitter and Facebook, asking for more Christmas Trees. This has generated a huge response and generated over 900 trees. It also prompted Radio Merseyside to interview Dave Stevenson, the Coastal Ranger, over the project and how it was helping to stabilize and re-establish the dunes (Ref 8).

Christmas trees being used for dune protection


Nature-based solution

  • Blue infrastructure
  • Coastlines

Key challenges

  • Coastal resilience and marine protection (SDG 14)
  • Coastal protection
  • Green space, habitats and biodiversity (SDG 15)
  • Habitat and biodiversity conservation
  • Environmental quality
  • Waste management
  • Social justice, cohesion and equity (SDG 10)
  • Social interaction
  • Sustainable consumption and production (SDG 12)
  • Sustainable consumption


Coastal landscape management or protection, Ecological restoration of degraded ecosystems, Other

Project objectives

The aim is to combat the problem of sand dune erosion (the concrete sea defenses on the coast often block windblown sand, preventing it from settling naturally into sand dunes). This is solved by using old Christmas trees to catch and trap sand blowing in from the beach. After a few years the trees will be buried under the sand and form artificial dunes shapes. These dune shapes will: encourage Marram and Lyme grasses to take root. Also, "the sand dunes form a natural defense against sea winds and are home to a variety of wildlife species including sand lizards and colorful burnet moths." (Ref. 1, 2) one objective regarding coastal sand dunes in the BAP is to “protect existing resources from loss in area or degradation in quality; and improve the quality of existing sand dune habitat towards favorable conservation status). (Ref. 4)

Implementation activities

Costal rangers have been working with volunteers (e.g. from middle of January when the old Christmas trees start coming in). The Christmas trees placed in 2016 were still there in 2017, having trapped around one metre of sand. Wasted Christmas trees are being recycled and benefiting Wirral's coastline. Also, the project preserves natural beauty and help e.g. animal habitats. (Ref. 1, 2)

Biodiversity conservation or restoration-focused activities

Biodiversity conservation:

  • Protect and enhance urban habitats
  • Preserve and strengthen existing habitats and ecosystems
  • Protect species
  • Undertake specific measures to protect species
  • Other

Main beneficiaries

  • Local government/Municipality
  • Citizens or community groups


Management set-up

  • Co-governance with government and non-government actors

Type of initiating organisation

  • Local government/municipality
  • Citizens or community group
  • District/neighbourhood association

Participatory approaches/ community involvement

  • Joint implementation (e.g. tree planting)

Details on the roles of the organisations involved in the project

The North Wirral Coastal Park is managed by the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral Ranger Service. (Ref. 3) Work was carried out together with a group of volunteers. (Ref. 1) The Friends of the North Wirral Coastal Park a volunteer organisation established in 1998 to support the Ranger Service in the management and betterment of initially the Gunsite area of the North Wirral Coastal Park. Since 2003 the friends have aimed to assist the Ranger Service in helping to maintain the entire site, to boost the awareness of the park and its uniqueness, to improving the site and to provide funding for various projects. (Ref. 3)

Project implemented in response to ...

... an EU policy or strategy? Unknown
... a national policy or strategy? Unknown
... a local policy or strategy? Unknown


Total cost

Not applicable

Source(s) of funding

  • Public local authority budget
  • Other

Type of funding

  • Earmarked public budget

Non-financial contribution

Type of non-financial contribution
  • Provision of land
  • Provision of goods
  • Provision of labour
Who provided the non-financial contribution?
  • Public authorities (e.g. land, utility services)
  • Citizens (e.g. volunteering)

Impacts and Monitoring

Environmental impacts

  • Environmental quality
  • Improved waste management
  • Improved protection against strong wind
  • Water management and blue areas
  • Enhanced protection and restoration of coastal and marine ecosystems
  • Green space and habitat
  • Increased conservation or restoration of ecosystems
  • Increased number of species present
  • Increased protection of threatened species
  • Other

Economic impacts

  • Unknown

Socio-cultural impacts

  • Cultural heritage and sense of place
  • Protection of natural heritage
  • Education
  • Increased knowledge of locals about local nature
  • Increased awareness of NBS and their benefits

Type of reported impacts

Achieved impacts

Presence of formal monitoring system


Presence of indicators used in reporting

No evidence in public records

Presence of monitoring/ evaluation reports

No evidence in public records

Availability of a web-based monitoring tool



Christmas trees being used for dune protection
Donated Christmas trees