Government launches £4.2m urban tree-planting plan
A £4.2m scheme to plant one million trees over the next four years has been unveiled by the government.
It will see trees planted in urban areas of England that need them most, in the first government tree-planting campaign since the 1970s.
It aims to reverse declines in the rates in the number of trees being planted in towns and cities.
It will be led by Defra, alongside the Forestry Commission and organisations such as the Woodland Trust.
Trees for Cities and the Tree Council will also be involved in the Big Tree Plant scheme.
The Forestry Commission will provide £1m a year over the next four years, while £200,000 of existing London Tree and Woodland Community Grant money will also be used.
Defra minister Jim Paice said: "Using the enthusiasm of local communities and the knowledge of the groups that know most about trees and their unique benefits, we'll help create neighbourhoods that we can be proud of."
Existing funding is already going to The NHS Forest to plant 65,000 trees across 25 sites in this planting season.
The Tree Council will plant more than 1,000 trees across four sites and Keep Britain Tidy will plant 100,000 trees across 750 sites.
Hilary Allison, policy director for the Woodland Trust said it welcomed the move to encourage people to plant trees.
"We launched our More Trees More Good campaign in June to highlight the need for twice as many native trees and woods for the sake of wildlife and the environment, and have had a fantastic response from schools, community groups, corporate partners and large landowners,"
She said the aim was to change from current levels of planting of around six million trees a year to 20 million a year over the next 50 years, to double woodland cover in the UK.
To do this, the Woodland Trust needed support from people who could help make tree planting a "national habit," she said.
Griff Rhys Jones, president of Civic Voice, an organisation which aims to make places more attractive, enjoyable and distinctive, said: "The Big Tree Plant is a great way for people to get together with their neighbours, civic society and local community groups to plant and care for more trees and improve the local environment for everyone.
"Plant a tree, change the future and the future will thank you for it."