The National Trust promises huge woodland expansion over next decade

To celebrate its 125th anniversary the Trust has announced plans to plant 20 million trees by 2030 to create 18,000 hectares of new woodland in the UK

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Marking the 125th anniversary, The National Trust announced a series of initiatives as part of the charity’s plan to step up the battle against climate change.

The centrepiece was a plan to create more than 18,000 hectares of woodland, an area equivalent to one and a half times the size of Manchester or 42 Sherwood Forests.

If achieved, the Trust says this will lock up 300,000 tonnes of carbon – equivalent to the energy output of 37,000 homes a year.

The National Trust’s Director General Hilary McGrady said: “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.”

She added: “The new government needs to deliver an Environment Bill with ambitious targets and a properly independent watchdog. Because we can only do so much alone. Now, more than ever, the whole environmental movement needs to pull together.”

The Trust says that if the 20 million trees are planted it would mean that 17% of land the charity cares for will be covered in woodland – an increase from the current 10%. 17% is the figure required nationwide if the government is to hit its own net zero target by 2050.