700,000 free trees for local communities

Nearly three-quarter of a million trees are winging their way across the UK as part of the Woodland Trust’s Big Climate Fightback.

Almost 4,000 schools and community groups will be taking delivery of the free saplings over the next two weeks, and while each group has its own reasons for planting, every tree will count towards the Trust’s campaign to help tackle climate change.

The Big Climate Fightback aims to get more than a million people to pledge to plant a tree on the run-up to a mass day of planting across the UK on November 30. Everyone that applied for a tree pack will be added to the list of pledges.

John Tucker, Director of Woodland Outreach, at the Woodland Trust said:

“Tree planting has never been higher on the social and political agenda. From school children to MPs, people are waking up to the message that trees are a big part of the solution to tackling climate change. Trees absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen, as well as filtering out other harmful pollutants from the air that we all breathe. Quite simply we need more of them.

“The government has committed to act on the Committee on Climate Change   recommendations and legislate for net zero emissions by 2050. To do this we need to plant 50 million trees each year. The Woodland Trust is pleased to be sending out this huge number of trees to schools and community groups that are eager to get planting and be part of the Big Climate Fightback.

“There are many reasons why schools and community groups choose to plant trees. Some of the wonderful projects this season include creating outdoor classrooms where pupils can spend time in a tranquil, outdoor, environment which will improve their education as well as their mental health and wellbeing. Others are growing natural screens and borders from roads to help to reduce pollution and improve air quality. We’re delighted to be helping them to create greener places to live.”

 The trees will be sent far and wide:

  • England: 583,875 trees to 3,310 organisations
  • Scotland:  69,855 trees to 339 organisations
  • Wales: 44,145 trees to 212 organisations
  • Northern Ireland: 20,190 trees to 87 organisations
  • UK Total: 718,065 trees to 3,948 organisations.

The packs are generously funded by lead partners Sainsbury’s, players of People’s Postcode Lottery, Yorkshire Tea and Selfridges. In addition, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has supported the Trust to provide 100,000 trees a year to state-funded primary schools in England over four years. DEFRA also funds four regional project officers to support schools to assist them with tree pack applications helping to increase the spread of green space improvement.

Since the initiative started in 2010, 9.6 million trees have been sent to schools and community groups keen to improve their local area. Please find a case study about Grange Farm Centre, Chigwell, Essex, in the notes to editors.

Grown in the UK

Every tree has been UK sourced and grown as part of the Trust’s quality assurance scheme to guarantee the provenance of native trees. The scheme guarantees that trees from a number of nurseries marked with the UKSG badge are raised from seeds sourced only from the UK and grown in the UK for their entire lifespan.

The aim of the scheme is to reduce the risk of importing pests and diseases with planting stock grown outside the UK.

All Woodland Trust saplings arrive with protection to give them the best chance of survival, and each pack comes with full instructions on planting and aftercare. All applicants are also directed to the Defra funded resource Tree Tools for Schools which has everything they need to plan, plant and care for their tree pack.

If you would like to apply for free trees in the coming season get your application in soon, as the scheme is once again proving to be extremely popular.

The Trust has two deliveries each year – one in March and the other in November – to coincide with tree planting season over the winter months. Applications for the next delivery in March 2020 are now being accepted, via the online application form, which can be found here, along with details about the different packs on offer.

Tree packs are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis and once they’re gone, they’re gone. You can apply for between 15-420 trees depending on the space you have available and your requirements. Packs are: hedge, copse, wild harvest, year-round colour, working wood, wildwood, wildlife, and urban.

Apply for your trees at www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/freetrees

To join the Big Climate Fightback and to pledge to plant a tree visit: www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/bigclimatefightback


Cover image: Tree Planting  © Paul Glendell

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