The National Trust has announced it will plant 20 million new trees in the UK within 10 years, creating 18,000 hectares of new woodland, as part of the charity’s plan to step up the battle against climate change.
In one of the UK’s biggest woodland expansion and tree planting projects, more than 18,000 hectares of woodland – an area equivalent to one and a half times the size of Manchester or 42 Sherwood Forests – will be strategically established across the nation to lock up 300,000 tonnes of carbon – equivalent to the electricity output of 370,000 homes a year.
This will mean that 17% of land the conservation charity cares for will be covered in woodland – an increase from the current 10%. National Trust said 17% is the figure required nationwide if the government is to hit its own net zero target by 2050.
The conservation charity also outlined that it would maintain peat bogs, invest in renewable energy and reduce the Trust’s carbon footprint in order to hit the net zero target by 2030.
As The National Trust celebrates its 125th year this year, it has vowed to continue work to reverse the decline in nature through a range of projects, including helping clean up the nation’s rivers and waterways, reintroduce species and repurpose land in favour of woodland and carbon sequestration.
Plans to unlock green spaces near urban areas, a year-long campaign to inspire people to engage with nature and address a ‘worrying disconnect’, as well as new plans for culture and heritage programmes have also been announced.
National Trust’s Director General Hilary McGrady said: “People need nature now more than ever. If they connect with it then they look after it. And working together is the only way we can reverse the decline in wildlife and the challenges we face due to climate change.
“The independent panel, the Committee on Climate Change, commissioned by the government, recommended the creation of woodland as an important part of the changes to land use needed to mitigate against the nature crisis.
“I am pleased to say that by 2030 we will establish 20 million trees, creating 18,000 hectares of new woodland.
“Woodlands help with flood prevention, they provide habitat for all sorts of nature and wildlife, and they are the backdrop to the adventures of future generations.”
Populations of the UK’s most important wildlife have plummeted by an average of 41 per cent since 1970, according to October’s State of Nature report.
The Trust has undertaken several reintroduction schemes recently, including water voles, butterflies and harvest mice as well as protecting some of the nation’s most treasured native wildlife including red squirrels, puffins and bats.
And this year the conservation charity will build on this by introducing beavers to Somerset and the South Downs.
Images Credit: ©National Trust/John Miller
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyles including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com