Friends of the Earth reacts to Labour Party’s pledge to plant two billion trees by 2040

27th November 2019
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Responding to the Labour Party’s ‘Plan for Nature’ (to be delivered in speech by Jeremy Corbyn at 11am on 28.11) Guy Shrubsole, tree campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said:

“This is by far the most ambitious tree-planting pledge we’ve seen from a political party. Tree cover in the UK needs to double as part of the fight against climate breakdown and this means adding three billion new trees, and fast. If sustained, Labour’s promised tree-planting rates would achieve this by 2050. While parties have been racing to make bigger trees pledges it’s crucial to remember that trees will only help fix the climate crisis if emissions cuts happen at the same time.”

Breaking down the numbers, here’s what’s needed to meet Friends of the Earth’s goal of doubling UK tree cover by 2045:

  • UK woodland cover is currently 13% of total land area, so doubling it would take us to 26%.
  • The UK currently has 3 million hectares of woodland  (made up of roughly 3 billion trees).
    • That works out at an average density of 1000 trees per hectare.
    • Which means that to double UK tree cover we need to add another 3 billion trees, covering an additional 3 million hectares.
  • To reach this over the 25 years between 2020 and 2045, we’d need to add trees at a rate of 120 million trees per year, or 120,000 hectares per year.

ENDS

For more information contact the Friends of the Earth press office on 020 7566 1649 / 07718 394786 (out of hours – please do not text this number) media@foe.co.uk.

Notes to editors

  1. For more analysis from Friends of the Earth on tree planting pledges by political parties see General election: party pledges on tree planting by Guy Shrubsole
  2. Friends of the Earth wants to double tree cover as part of our fight against climate chaos. Find out more about Friends of the Earth’s tree campaign by visiting friendsoftheearth.uk/trees
  3. About Friends of the Earth: Friends of the Earth is an international community dedicated to the protection of the natural world and the wellbeing of everyone in it. We bring together more than two million people in 75 countries, combining people power all over the world to transform local actions into global impact. For more information visit: https://friendsoftheearth.uk/ follow us at @friends_earth, or like our Facebook page.
  4. Friends of the Earth’s campaign to double tree cover is supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.