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Woodland Trust asks one million Britons to plant a tree after government misses targets

Sarah Knapton
The Woodland Trust estimates that 50 million trees a year are needed before 2050 to make Britain Net Zero - E+

The Woodland Trust is asking one million people to each plant a tree to fight climate change after the government failed to meet targets.

Today the conservation charity launched its ‘Big Climate Fightback’ campaign after figures showed just 1,420 hectares (3,500 acres) of woodland was created in England last year, far short of the 5,000-a-year (12,000 acres) which was promised.

The Government's own advisory Committee on Climate Change has warned there needs to be significant increases in tree planting in order to help cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Woodland Trust ambassadors, Sandi Toksvig and Clive Anderson backed the bid to recruit more than a million people for a mass tree planting campaign to tackle climate change.

Anderson said that humanity did not need a new ‘clever bit of kit’ to solve climate change, because nature had already provided a solution.

“That device already exists,” he said. “It's called a tree. Though to make a difference we need an awful lot of them - 1.5 billion trees, according to the Government's Climate Change Committee, if we want to help the UK reach 'net zero' by 2050.

“So, let's make this year the year we make a real difference.”

The Woodland Trust said meeting the target would require 50 million young trees going into the ground each year up to 2050

Although The Trust said it recognised planting trees was not a ‘solve all’ for climate change, it would help individuals to collectively make a real contribution to the problem.

Norman Starks, interim chief executive at the Woodland Trust, said: “The Big Climate Fightback is about inspiring people of all ages and backgrounds and providing the chance to take direct action - they have to simply go to our website and pledge to plant a tree, whether it's in their backyard, neighbourhood, school or at a nearby planting event.

“It's an easy way for people to do their individual bit for climate change as part of a mass movement.”

The Woodland Trust will be hosting planting days across the UK on November 30.

All the trees provided by the Woodland Trust for planting will be sourced and grown in the UK and will be native broadleaf varieties such as oak, birch and hawthorn.

Toksvig, one of the presenters of Channel 4's Great British Bake Off, said: “Climate change is a real threat and it affects us all. But there is the simplest of all solutions. It's green and lovely - the humble tree.

“It eats carbon dioxide for breakfast and makes all our lives better. And what's more we can all do our bit to take action now and plant one.

“I will be pledging to plant a tree in the Woodland Trust's Big Climate Fightback and I urge people to get off their sofas (when they've watched their recording of Bake Off of course) and plant a tree.”