If you’ve heard the term ‘tree champion’ in the news recently, you might be wondering what it is. This new job has the responsibility of improving outcomes for the nation’s woodlands and urban trees.

Did you know that England is running out of oak trees? It’s a serious problem. The last oaks planted by the Victorians are now being harvested and yet we haven’t planted enough since then to account for future need. Our current solution is to import more from America and Europe. We are all out of oak!

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This is one of the reasons for the new government appointed ‘tree champion’ who will head the campaign for planting 11 million new trees and protect our existing forests, woodlands and urban greenery.

The title and tough task have been given to Sir William Worsley, the present chairman of the National Forest Company. He was also formerly a chief of the Country Land and Business Association, representing the interests of rural business and landowners.

Trees once were a major factor in the success of our economy. A big section of the Magna Carta was devoted entirely to forestry rights and oak trees were vital for our navy when building a global empire. Millions of our homes have been constructed using timber from our lands. In fact, the Forestry Commission was created after the First World War in response to the need for timber to build houses and to provide jobs for returning soldiers.

Now, only 13% of the UK is home to forests. This is pitiful compared to the European average of 30%. We don’t make enough timber to meet our needs and so the rest must be imported. There has not been enough protection of our woodlands from incursions from commercial properties being built on them. There is also little protection available for existing trees that are in short supply or at risk. That is why the plan for planting 11 million trees and 1 million in urban areas seems tough but is absolutely necessary. If you want to plant some trees on your property, contact a Tree Surgeon Dorset at https://kieranboylandtreeservices.com

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Sadly, despite incentives by the government, the rates of new forests being planted still remains low in England. Tree-planting will always remain commercially unpopular while farming land and housing development commands such high prices.

Our new ‘tree champion’ will need to find out how much forest the UK really has as the information on tree coverage is unreliable and sketchy at best. There is also scant protection for ancient trees, whether they are on public or private land. The difficulty of this task lies in the fact that without knowing the current state of affairs, it will be nigh on impossible to measure success.