The biggest mass tree-planting campaign in the UK’s history is calling on volunteers to do their bit to stop the climate emergency by signing up to plant trees.
Plots in appropriate sites around the country are being prepared for 30 November, when the Big Climate Fightback campaign is scheduled and is looking for 1 million volunteers. They are encouraging local groups to run tree-planting events while asking permission from councils to plant trees on their land, or outside schools and similar publicly owned properties. Businesses are also being counseled to plant trees on their own premises if possible.
People without any gardens or other means to plant their own trees are encouraged to spot potential sites and request their local council or the landowner for permission to plant.
By 2025, the Woodland Trust charity running the Big Climate Fightback hopes to have planted a tree for each person in the country. All of the trees provided by the charity will be native broadleaf varieties like oak, birch, and hawthorn.
Sandi Toksvig, writer and broadcaster has pledged to plant a tree and called on others to do so as well.
She said, “Climate change is a real threat and affects us all, but there is the simplest of all solutions: the humble tree. I urge people to get off their sofas and plant a tree. It’s very simple and you could be one in a million.”
As per the Committee on Climate Change, the UK government’s statutory advisers on the climate crisis, the nation needs 1.5 billion new trees by 2050 to meet the net-zero carbon target, established in line with international scientific warnings on the climate crisis. The government is also targeting 5,000 hectares a year for England alone, but planting rates have fallen well short of that, with only 1,420 hectares (3,508 acres) of new woodland planted last year.
But, trees will also need to be cared for after planting to safeguard they survive, so groups are encouraged to participate after the planting stage. The Woodland Trust also cautioned that tree planting alone was not enough.
Darren Moorcroft, the charity’s chief executive, said, “As individuals, we all need to do much more to reduce our impact on the planet by cutting emissions and reducing pressure on resources”.
An official for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said, “Working with the Woodland Trust and other organisations, we also want to encourage everyone to play a part and help us to plant more trees. We’ve already kick-started the creation of a Northern Forest, which will see 50m trees planted from Liverpool to Hull, and we have set up two funds worth £60m to drive up planting rates, including in our towns and cities. Later this year we will be consulting on a new English Tree Strategy, focusing on how to accelerate woodland creation across the country.”