Britain is to get a stunning one billion new trees in the next 50 years in one of the biggest conservation programmes ever launched – and work is starting now in some of the most deprived areas of the country.
Some 400,000 saplings are being distributed to school children and an “army” of other volunteers to kick off the programme in inner city areas, the Woodland Trust charity has announced. They will be planted in school grounds and derelict open spaces in urban areas.
Then, over the next 50 years, the charity hopes to plant an amazing 20 million trees every year to restore the country to its natural state because, at present, we have one of the lowest areas of tree cover of any country in Europe.
The trust supplies the saplings free and says head of the program Graham Blight: "The take up of our free trees has been unprecedented, particularly by those in deprived urban areas who recognise and value the contribution trees make to their neighborhoods.
“With just 12% native woodland cover, compared to the European average of 44%, every one of us is impoverished by a lack of trees in our landscape. As individuals, groups and communities we can each take action to improve where we live and contribute to a bigger vision.
“To help make this happen, the number of communities receiving trees from us in 2011 will rise to 1,400."
Tree cover in the Yorkshire Dales is even lower than the national average because of large scale deforestation to make way for sheep grazing in the 19th Century but a local charity, the Millennium Trust, announced last week that this winter it will hit its target plant a million new trees.