Annual budget for planting trees in England stands at just 20p per person after a slump of more than 50 per cent in four years
- Tree planting budget dropped from £33.9million to £13.5million in four years
- The Daily Mail will launch a Be Our Tree Angle campaign on Saturday
- It aims to encourage people to start planting trees to save the environment
The annual budget to plant trees in England is around 20p per person – a decrease of more than half in four years.
It was just £13.5million in 2017-18, down from £33.9million in 2013-14.
The UK-wide figure is equivalent to £1 a head. The total figure for England, Scotland and Wales is £56million. With Northern Ireland added, it amounts to £60million, according to Friends of the Earth. The Daily Mail is campaigning for a huge increase in tree planting to help fight climate change, battle air pollution and create a greener environment.
The annual budget for tree planting has dropped from £33.9million to £13.5million in the last four years and, in England, is now equivalent to just 20p per person
Our Be a Tree Angel Christmas campaign will be launched on Saturday in the run-up to the start of National Tree Week next Monday. The UK’s Committee on Climate Change has recommended that tree planting should increase from the current 13,000 hectares to 30,000.
Friends of the Earth said spending on trees will need to at least double.
The group’s Emi Murphy explained: ‘This National Tree Week we’re calling for the next UK Government to properly fund the doubling of tree cover.
‘This is one of the key solutions to solving the climate crisis but has been shockingly underfunded for years.
‘Faced with the climate emergency and the dire impacts it will bring, we simply cannot afford not to fund trees.’
The Daily Mail is appealing for donations to help plant more woodlands and create a more beautiful country. So please take part (stock image)
Trees have become an election issue with the parties vying to compete over who will plant the most. The Tories have pledged to re-forest 30,000 hectares of England every year – something not achieved since 1989.
The Lib Dems say they will plant 40,000 hectares – 60million trees – annually. Labour has not yet revealed its targets.
Sanjay Singh, of the People’s Postcode Lottery which is supplying thousands of trees for planting events, said: ‘We’re facing a climate and nature crisis and it’s local communities leading the fight to protect woodlands and plant more trees.
‘Our players are funding a range of tree-planting initiatives across the country, and I’m pleased that they are also are able to support this crucial part of the fight against climate breakdown.’
Meanwhile ash trees could soon be developed to be resistant to dieback as scientists have identified genes that protect against the deadly fungal disease. Researchers from Kew and Queen Mary University of London screened the DNA of more than 1,250 ash trees. They found that many of the genes linked with ash dieback resistance were similar to those previously known to guard against disease in other plant species.
Ash dieback is a major threat to the UK landscape – it is predicted it will kill over half of ash trees across the country.
Experts estimate the loss of millions of ash trees will cost the economy £7.6billion over the next ten years.
This includes loss of benefits that woods and trees provide, such as clean air and water and storing carbon dioxide.
Genetics professor Richard Nichols, of Queen Mary University, said the DNA study findings will ‘provide the foundations for breeding more resistant trees in future’.