AN industrial hire company is doing its bit for the environment with ambitions of planting more than 700 trees in the next 20 years.

Astley Hire, which is based on Jury Street in Leigh, has signed up to a scheme to help businesses offset carbon emissions from their vehicles.

Every time its vehicle fleet of three cars, five vans and truck fuels up a percentage of what they pay goes to the EcoPoint tree planting scheme, which was set up by fuel card provider Allstar, to help plant more trees in 57 new woodlands around the UK.

Managing director Stephen Dorricott, who wants Astley Hire to eventually become a carbon zero business, said: “We are very environmentally aware as a company and so when we heard about this scheme we were very keen to try it.

“I thought this was a great way of working towards reducing our carbon footprint.

“We signed up for it last autumn and we have just had a certificate recognising that we contributed our first six trees in November and December 2016, so potentially we are on track to have contributed 36 trees in 2017.

“At this rate we will have contributed at least 720 trees in 20 years – practically our own Astley Hire forest.

“We also thought it was a good way to demonstrate to our staff and customers that we are keen to be an eco-friendly company.

“We hope in the creation of new woodlands in the UK will not only capture, over time, the CO2 emissions from our vehicles, but will also provide significant other environmental and social benefit to the UK."

The company, which has been in business for 50 years, has also just purchased an environmentally-friendly Mercedes truck with an engine that helps to reduce harmful pollutants from vehicle exhausts.

The EcoPoint tree planting scheme, which is run in partnership with Forest Carbon, has seen more than 1.7 million trees covering in excess of 3,300 acres.

It is hoped the trees will be able to provide a number of benefits in the next 100 years including flood mitigation and cleaner air and rivers.