Already in 2020, we’ve experienced the wettest February on record. People’s homes and livelihoods have been destroyed after the UK was successively hit by the heavy rainfall of storms Ciara, Dennis and Jorge. Research shows extreme rainfall is now a significant risk factor for the UK. Climate change has increased the likelihood of the events we’ve seen recently.

Trees and woods can play a vital role in reducing flood risk, but more needs to be done by those responsible for flood risk management. Find out more about our work with local and national government to tackle climate change and how you can help. We also need urgent help to save ancient woods in the South East, but it’s not all doom and gloom – we have some good news from Liverpool and Scotland too.

The global climate crisis is a local issue

Every local authority must play it’s part and tackle the nature and climate crises with the help of woods and trees.

Hundreds of councils across England have declared a climate emergency and are planning how to address the crises in their area. But many are yet to put robust plans in place. Trees and woods are an essential part of the solution for all councils.

We want councils to meet with us to discuss how trees can help fight the crises. Join the call and urge your council to take action.

Street tree with housing in the background

Protecting trees and woods

Councils need trees and woods to fight climate change

More than half of our local authorities have declared a climate emergency. Planting more trees and protecting those they already have is key. We’re here to help.

See how you can help

National governments must lead the climate response

The Government’s climate change advisers have set a target of 17-19% woodland cover as a key part of the UK’s actions to reach net zero emissions by 2050. While local councils play an important role, its essential that the effort is led by national governments.

Our Emergency Tree Plan sets out what must be done. The recommendations must be reflected in national strategies and action plans.

Tell your government to act on the recommendations in our Emergency Tree Plan to tackle the climate and nature emergency using trees and woods.

Rescuers in safety wear take a resident on a boat down a flooded street

Protecting trees and woods

Demand government action on climate change

Governments must act before it’s too late. We need your help to make our Emergency Tree Plan recommendations reality.

Act now

Climate change action plan launched before international conference

The Climate Coalition launched the Glasgow Action Plan on 2 March, together with over 60 organisations including the Woodland Trust. The plan highlights the five areas Government must prioritise to get us on track to a cleaner, greener future:

  • Raise ambitions
  • Support impacted communities
  • Scale up nature-based solutions
  • Support a just energy transition
  • Get UK on track to net zero.

These actions are essential before we host the world at COP 26 (Conference of the Parties), the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow this November. We must get our own house in order and go further and faster to reach net zero as soon as possible.

More ways to take action

Don’t miss the chance to comment on Lower Thames Crossing plans

You have just two weeks left to share your views on the controversial Lower Thames Crossing road project. The proposed tunnel would link Essex and Kent under the River Thames. But the full impact on ancient woodland remains unclear as Highways England has failed to confirm any details, despite working on the plans for four years.

We expect that 12 ancient woods and 15 veteran trees are within, or close to, the development boundary. They include our own Ashenbank Wood, a Site of Special Scientific Interest at Cobham in Kent.

It’s high time we got a straight answer from Highways England on how much irreplaceable habitat could be damaged or destroyed. With only 2% of UK land mass covered by ancient woodland, we can’t afford to lose it.

The consultation closes on 25 March. Object to the proposals and call on Highways England to protect ancient woods and trees now.

Large multi-stemmed tree in Brewers Wood with smaller green-leafed trees in the background

Protecting trees and woods

Ancient woods and trees threatened by Lower Thames Crossing

We’ve been campaigning against proposals for a new tunnel between Essex and Kent since 2016. Now Highways England has developed its plans and is consulting on the changes, we need your help again.

Act now

Good news stories in Liverpool and Scotland

Liverpool’s Allerton Oak became a bit of a celebrity after presenter Alison Hammond interviewed the tree on ITV’s This Morning! Through ‘tree whisperer’ Holly Worton, Alison asked the 1,000 year old oak how it felt to be in the running for European Tree of the Year after winning the UK Tree of the Year title. The UK round of the contest is run by the Woodland Trust to showcase the UK’s best trees and help drive up interest in their value and protection. The European competition has now closed - we’re eagerly waiting for the winner to be announced on Tuesday 17 March.

Meanwhile, in Scotland, over 80% of elected politicians are now designated Species Champions. The MSP Species Champions project gives MSPs a species to support and stand up for, including 12 types of tree. Find out how the project is making a difference, and how you can urge government to do more for woods and trees, wherever you are in the UK.

Help protect ancient woods and trees