United Kingdom

Ministers pledge £4million to plant thousands of trees to tackle climate change and reduce flooding 

The Mail's campaign to plant thousands of trees across Britain receives a huge boost today as ministers pledge £3.9million to plant more trees in towns and along rivers to reduce the risk of flooding.

The funding will help Boris Johnson's Government reach its target of planting 30,000 hectares (74,000 acres) of trees every year across the UK by 2025.

From the cash boost £2.5million will go towards planting in cities, towns and the countryside to tackle climate change and create new habitats for wildlife.

The funding will help Boris Johnson's Government reach its target of planting 30,000 hectares (74,000 acres) of trees every year across the UK by 2025

And £1.4million will go to the Environment Agency to place 850,000 trees near rivers and watercourses to better protect homes and reduce flood risk.

Today's announcement, which will help deliver tree planting on an 'unprecedented scale', comes at the end of National Tree Week.

The annual tree-planting drive has seen thousands of young trees, called whips, put into the ground up and down the country.

The campaign has so far raised over half a million pounds for orchards to be planted in schools

Many are sponsored by the Daily Mail's Be A Tree Angel campaign, which was launched last November in conjunction with the Tree Council with the aim to encourage people of all ages to plant as many trees as possible. 

The campaign has so far raised over half a million pounds for orchards to be planted in schools.

Children up and down the country began seeding this week, giving them the opportunity to learn more about the environment and leave a legacy for the next generation.

The Government's 'woodlands for water' fund consists of 15 projects which will protect around 160km of river and help to reduce the risk of flooding to over 500 properties.

Trees have the ability to slow the flow of water, act as a buffer for agricultural pollution and improve water quality.

Projects include planting 30,168 trees in the Upper Thames and Cotswolds, 17,000 trees at ten sites across Devon and Cornwall and 17,687 over three locations in Shropshire.

Forestry minister Lord Goldsmith said: 'We are going to have to break down the barriers to planting trees outside of woodlands if we are to deliver our ambitious tree planting commitments.

Trees are the backbone of our urban and rural environments, and increasing planting is an effective way both to tackle climate change and stem the appalling collapse of biodiversity.

'These ambitious new initiatives will help deliver tree planting on an unprecedented scale. They will help to regenerate our urban areas, as well as our watercourses, and create a network of green corridors for both people and wildlife to thrive.'

The scheme is being led by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Natural England and the Tree Council.

Emma Howard Boyd, chairman of the Environment Agency, said: 'The projects chosen will provide invaluable benefits to communities and our environment – from reducing flood risk and protecting homes, to capturing carbon, improving water quality and encouraging biodiversity.'

While many hailed the announcement, some organisations said more needs to be done to meet tree-planting targets.

Darren Moorcroft, chief executive of the Woodland Trust, said: 'We welcome the Government's announcement to commit £3.9million to fund tree planting – it's another step in the right direction but much more will need to be done to achieve its aim to create 30,000 hectares of trees per year to meet climate change targets.

'Whilst this funding for more trees is a good start, funding is also needed to look after them in the long term.

'This means local authorities being able to afford to have a woods and tree officer, the resources to develop a tree strategy and important practical things like the ability to assess their landholdings for areas to plant.'

It comes after Mr Johnson last month announced a further £40million towards the Green Recovery Challenge Fund, which will go towards creating and retaining jobs in the environmental sector.

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