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