Tree and woodland bodies agree principles for Charter for Trees, Woods and People

The coalition of environmental, social and industry bodies has published what it calls the charter's ten key principles, based on consultation with the public.

Image: Philip Sheldrake (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Image: Philip Sheldrake (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The list has been drawn up from more than 50,000 stories submitted by members of the public, including woodland owners via a survey last year by environmental charity Sylva Foundation.

It has been agreed by a coalition of more than 70 cross-sector UK organisations, which are asking the public to sign the Tree Charter which will be launched later this year.

The main themes and aims of the charter will be:

  • Nature - thriving habitats for diverse species
  • Planting for the future
  • Arts & Heritage - celebrating the cultural impacts of trees
  • Utility & Livelihoods - a thriving forestry sector that delivers for the UK
  • Better Protection for important trees and woods
  • Planning - enhancing new developments with trees
  • Health & Wellbeing - understanding and using the natural health benefits of trees
  • Access to trees for everyone
  • Coping with Threats to woods and trees through good management
  • Environment - strengthening landscapes with woods and trees.

Sylva Foundation chief executive Gabriel Hemery said: "The Tree Charter is a vehicle for us all to reflect for a moment about what trees mean to us individually, and thanks to the engagement with tens of thousands of people across the UK it will provide a clarion call for society to do better in protecting and enhancing our trees and forests."

Woodland Trust chief executive Beccy Speight said: "Today, our nation’s woods and trees are facing unprecedented pressures from development, pests and diseases and climate change. They risk being neglected, undervalued and forgotten.

"Now is the time to create a new Tree Charter, which recognises the importance of trees in our society, celebrates their enormous contribution to our lives, and acts now so that future generations can benefit from them too."

The final Charter is intended to "provide guidance and inspiration" for policy and practice, while laying out the responsibilities to, and benefits from, woods and trees for Government, businesses, communities and individuals.

It will be officially launched on 6 November 2017, the 800th anniversary of the historic 1217 Charter of the Forest, signed by Henry III and granting commoners access to royal lands.

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