AN environmentally-aware entrepreneur has launched a groundbreaking project to help reduce carbon emissions.

Shayne Stride, who runs Inverclyde Boiler Company, has pledged that a tree will be planted for every boiler he fits.

Shayne approached Inverclyde councillor Lynne Quinn about the project in April, pitching it as a carbon offset scheme to compensate for the carbon dioxide (CO2) produced by gas boilers.

Lynne approached Marie Stonehouse, chair of Friends of Coves Community Nature Reserve and Bruce Newlands, chair of Inverclyde Shed, to see if they could provide areas for the trees to be planted.

To kick the project off, 50 dwarf apple trees will be planted in Inverclyde - 25 at Coves Community Nature Reserve and 25 at the walled garden in Gourock Park.

Shayne says he is doing his bit towards Scotland's ambitious environmental targets.

He said: "The Scottish Government has set itself a legally-binding target to cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2045.

"As a heating company installing gas boilers, we don't really help that agenda.

"I started thinking about what I could do to play a role in reducing carbon dioxide levels here in Inverclyde.

"Our vision is to plant a tree for every boiler we fit.

"Trees remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and release oxygen so they help produce a cleaner, healthier climate.

"A tree can sequester around one tonne of carbon dioxide by the time it reaches 40 years old.

"I'm looking forward to seeing a forest and knowing that my company has contributed to that."

Shayne will provide the funding for the trees, which will be planted by volunteers at each of the locations.

The first 50 will be planted during October and November and will start to fruit and flower in the spring.

Every customer who has a boiler fitted in Inverclyde Boiler Company's peak season will receive a certificate which shows where their tree will be planted.

Shayne's customers can then go and pick an apple from the tree they helped grow.

The trees will be planted in biochar - a form of charcoal carbon made from wood biomass.

Councillor Quinn said the project is about much more than reducing carbon emissions.

She said: "This is a very important gesture for the community and a fantastic thing for Shayne to do.

"As the founder of a boiler company, he realises the impact that these boilers can have on the environment.

"We're hoping that we can get schools involved later on down the line so that young people can find out more about the growing process and how the trees are helping the environment."

Marie Stonehouse, chair of Friends of Coves Community Nature Reserve, added: "Soil, plants and oceans are the largest carbon sinks on the planet.

"Plants absorb the CO2 from the atmosphere and stabilise it in the soil, so soils can offset greenhouse gas emissions."

Bruce and the team at Inverclyde Shed will plant trees along the south end of the walled garden in Gourock Park.

The team will use heritage varieties including 'Clydeside', 'Maggie Sinclair', 'Bloody Ploughman' and the 'Lass o' Gowrie'.

Bruce said: "The trees will contribute to reducing carbon but will also provide a beautiful blossom each year for users of the park and for pollinators."

GROWING PLACES: Shayne with Marie Stonehouse and Lynn Quinn.