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To: The Rt Hon Theresa Villiers
Plant 1.5 billion trees in the UK
The climate crisis is real and it’s here. We are sending more CO2 up in air and we are losing our forests and woodlands which help absorb the carbon. The planet is suffering. More extreme and record-breaking weather in on the rise every year. The Amazon is burning furiously. Our towns and cities are becoming more toxic. Our physical and mental health is suffering. Childhood asthma is on the increase. Depression is high amongst youngsters and people in general. We need nature. We need more trees. We urgently need to reduce our CO2 emissions. We need to plant 1.5 billion trees in the UK to absorb the carbon if we have any chance of avoiding a climate catastrophe.
We have set inappropriate tree planting targets in the UK and still have not met those.
Tree-planting in England fell well short of targets in the past year new figures show, despite government promises to restore and plant new woodland across the country to combat the climate change crisis.
Only 1,420 hectares (3,507 acres) of trees were planted in England in the year to March 2019, against the government’s target of 5,000 hectares in the period, with smaller areas in Wales and Northern Ireland, at 500 hectares and 240 hectares respectively. The total tree cover of the UK is unchanged at 10% in England, 15% in Wales, 19% in Scotland and 8% in Northern Ireland.
Michael Gove, the environment secretary, has promised a national campaign of tree-planting, with pledges from the government of £50m for 10m new rural trees and £10m for 130,000 urban trees by 2022.
Setting out measures the UK will need to implement to achieve the net-zero carbon target, which is shortly to be enshrined in legislation, the Committee on Climate Change said 1.5bn trees would be needed by 2050, equivalent to an area of 30,000 hectares every year, with 15% of crop land turned to tree-planting and growing plants for fuel.
Why is this important?
For the sake of our survival, we need bigger investment and urgency from our Government for our country and our planet if we are to make any real difference of avoiding a climate catastrophe. We need 1.5 billion trees to be planted by 2030. 2050 is too late. And any less is inadequate to this widespread huge humanitarian, environmental and climate crisis we all face together. The current and intentionally man-made destruction of the Amazon rainforest, makes this all the more urgent.