Woodland Trust calls for major tree-planting initiative to offset CO2 emissions

Tree bosses are calling for an area twice the size of Manchester to be planted every year to clampdown on carbon following new research on emissions.

The findings that firms generate vast amounts of emissions prompted the Woodland Trust to roll out its Great Carbon Lock Up campaign calling for 23,000ha of trees to be planted every year for 40 years.

Woodland Trust carbon manager Dr Nick Atkinson said: "Trees lock up CO2, which would otherwise remain in the atmosphere and accelerate global warming.

"Creating woodland is a great way for companies to help lock up their emissions, demonstrating their green credentials.

"Planting 23,000ha - twice the size of Manchester- of new woodland a year for the next 40 years would meet the 80% emissions cut to which the Government is committed.

"It doesn't sound like much but 100 urban trees mean one tonne less CO2 emitted every year, while at the same time removing still more from the atmosphere."

The new figures revealed 15% of all overall emissions, including almost 100m tonnes of carbon dioxide, came from businesses. The annual total is around 630m.

But only 12m tonnes of carbon dioxide, 2% of the total, was locked up by woodland, said the trust, which will work with businesses to increase this figure.

The UK's 3m ha of woods are thought absorb 1.2bn tonnes of CO2. The 40 square miles of London woods locked up only 4m tonnes of Greater London's 90m-tonne annual footprint.

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