A conservation charity is pledging to plant 50 million trees by 2025 to help tackle climate change.
The Woodland Trust is also urging millions of people to join its “big climate fightback” by planting trees this November to build support to sustain the biggest mass planting campaign the country has seen, in the next few years.
The efforts come in the face of the impacts of Covid-19, with tree planting rates falling despite the need to increase woodland cover to store carbon and tackle the climate crisis.
As part of the push, the Woodland Trust is sending more than 600,000 free trees to community groups and schools over the next few weeks.
And it is announcing a new “emergency tree fund” worth up to £1 million to support local authorities to plant trees and create woods, which will be piloted with 12 councils and rolled out further if successful.
In the big climate fightback, which is supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, people are being urged to plant trees, or if they cannot do that, they can take action such as lobbying MPs and donating money to the campaign.
The Woodland Trust is also calling for efforts to turn words into action following the Government’s pledge to plant 30,000 hectares of woodland a year to help meet targets to cut emissions to zero overall by 2050.
The conservation charity said that translates to around 50 million trees a year.
The Woodland Trust’s Darren Moorcroft said: “A year on from many big promises and statements about the need for more trees in order to achieve carbon net zero by 2050, they mainly remain just that, words.”
He said the Trust planted more than four million trees in 2019, but that was well below what was needed in the UK to meet climate change targets.
“Today I outline our commitment to establish 50 million trees by 2025 to achieve our ten year aim of a tree for everyone in the UK.
“This would more than double our most successful year ever and state our ambition to plant 10 million trees a year to 2025 and further, 20% of the entire UK yearly target as set out by the Government.”
And he said: “Our role in tackling the climate crisis won’t rest – we know the clock is ticking and we must act now. Trees are nature’s most powerful weapons in the fight against climate change.
“Together we can achieve remarkable things and I ask people today, please do your bit, join our climate change army, plant a tree in November, use your voice for trees and woods, support our cause and help us to continue our collective Big Climate Fightback.”