Dig in to ensure we plant more trees to fight climate change
Urgent action is needed to ensure the national campaign to plant more trees to tackle climate change takes root after disappointing figures were released.
That’s the view of Midlands green energy expert Ron Fox who said fewer than half the number of new trees promised had been planted in England during the last 12 months.
The Government had pledged to plant 74,000 acres over the next five years, with an annual average of 14,800 acres a year. But there were only 5,758 acres of trees put in last year, although this was up from 3,509 the year before.
“These statistics are quite worrying,” said Ron, of Noreus Ltd on the University of Keele Science and Innovation Park. “We are committed to reducing our carbon footprint to net zero by 2050 and increasing our forests is one of the most effective ways to help achieve this.
“Not only do trees remove harmful CO2 emissions from the atmosphere, but lockdown has shown how vital access to them and green spaces is for people’s health and well-being.”
He added that trees and other plants absorb carbon dioxide from the air as they grow, soaking up more than a quarter of all the CO2 that humans add to the air each year. A forest becomes a huge reservoir of stored carbon which is not released into the atmosphere unless it is burned or cleared.
Only 10 per cent of England is occupied by trees whereas in Scotland it is 19 per cent, Wales 15 per cent and Europe an average of 38 per cent. However, the UK’s woodland cover was only 5 per cent in 1919 when the Forestry Commission was created to address the problem of a severe shortage of timber following the First World War.
The Royal Forestry Society said land owners were keen to plant more trees, but they were being held back by red tape and uncertainty over subsidies.
A spokesman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said that tree planting was at the heart of the Government’s ambitious green programme and they were committed to achieving these figures by 2025.
“I would urge everyone to lobby their MP over this vital task of planting more forests,” said Ron. “Not only do the trees store carbon dioxide, they contribute to the environment by providing oxygen, improving air quality, preserving soil and supporting wildlife.”
For advice on all green energy matters contact Ron on 0845 474 6641.