England’s largest landowners must grow more trees to help store carbon and tackle climate change.
That’s the call from Friends of the Earth, which claims some of the biggest landowners in England have woodland cover ‘even lower than the weak national average’ – it urges landowners such as the Church Commissioners and the Duchy of Cornwall to use their estates
The former, which is the investment arm of the Church of England, boasts a 105,000-acre estate but has only 3% woodland cover – the average national woodland cover figure currently stands at 10%.
Similarly, the Prince of Wales’ 130,000-acre Duchy of Cornwall estate has just 6% woodland cover.
However, other major landowners recorded better statistics – Highways England has 13,588 acres of woodland growing by the side of motorways, 11% of the organisation’s total land, while the Forestry Commission tops the list, with more than 400,000 acres of wooded areas.
A recent analysis of unpublished Forestry Commission data found there is enough suitable land in England to triple tree cover in England.
Friends of the Earth trees Campaigner, Guy Shrubsole, said: “Much of England is owned by a very small number of landowners, who have a responsibility to better use their land in a way that helps address the climate and nature crises facing us all. A big part of this means growing more trees, which would remove planet-wrecking carbon from the air and provide homes for wildlife.
“The government shouted from the rooftops about the launch of the England Tree Strategy but didn’t even set a tree target for the country. This lack of ambition shows a complete disregard for the climate crisis. Ministers must turn this around, by committing to a target to double UK tree cover and providing better incentives for landowners to grow more trees and rewild their estates.”
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