"National Tree Champion" to be appointed to boost tree planting

As part of its 25-Year Environment Plan, published today, the government has called for a National Tree Champion to "help to drive a step change in tree planting".

Image: Carl Sinfield (CC-BY-SA-2.0)
Image: Carl Sinfield (CC-BY-SA-2.0)

The appointee will "promote the unique blend of social, economic and environmental benefits offered by trees and forests and make sure that the right trees, in terms of biosecurity, value for money, air quality impact and biodiversity among other criteria, are planted in the right places, in line with the UK Forestry Standard", the Plan states.

The role will also involve supporting government commitments and national targets including the delivery of one million urban trees and a further eleven million trees, as well as "encouraging joined-up thinking on issues for trees and will support the mitigation and management of the impact of pests and diseases on the extent, connectivity and condition of the nation’s tree-scape", and "exploring opportunities to further strengthen protection for ancient woodland".

The Plan commits the Government to working with the Tree Champion and the Forestry Commission to design and develop a future grant scheme aimed at larger scale afforestation to meet its carbon reduction goals.

It also commits to "more natural flood management solutions where appropriate", including tree planting as well as river bank restoration, installing woody dams, reconnecting rivers with their flood plains and storing water temporarily on open land.

Speaking at the launch of the Plan today, Prime Minister Theresa May said: "Nothing is more emblematic of that natural environment than our trees. They are natural air purifiers. They act as flood defences.

"We have committed to plant millions more trees, in urban and rural locations. We also support increased protections for England’s existing trees and forests, both from inappropriate developments and from invasive pests and diseases."

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