As we muddle our way through these strange times spending much more time at home, it can feel like there’s little we can do to help the outside world. So we want to remind our supporters of everything you have already done in 2020 to help us protect, restore and plant woods and trees across the UK.

You raised your voice for all of these causes by joining our online campaigns and have made a huge difference for woods and trees. We can’t wait to see what else we can achieve together in the future.

Speaking out against Lower Thames Crossing damage

Our most recent campaign has now come to an end after the latest Lower Thames Crossing public consultation closed on 2 April. We asked you to tell Highways England that destroying and damaging irreplaceable habitats is unacceptable. More than 3,400 people joined our call.

The current proposals for a new road tunnel beneath the River Thames threaten:

  • direct loss of 9 areas of ancient woodland (including 3 of Special Scientific Interest)
  • destruction of 15 veteran trees
  • indirect damage to 3 more ancient woods.

We hope that our combined voices will be heard and the proposals re-considered to protect these precious trees and woods. Thanks to your help, we already stand a good chance of getting the option to route a gas mains under our Ashenbank Wood site off the table.

We were expecting an application for this scheme to be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate this summer, though with current events this may no longer be the case. 

We’ll update you as soon as we hear anything.

More local councils fighting climate change with trees

We asked you to write to your council and encourage them to talk to us about how they can respond to the climate crisis with woods and trees. Over 1,000 of you joined the call, and your voice has made a huge difference.

43 councils contacted us that we hadn’t worked with before. We’re now collaborating to create a plan for each of their areas. This means we are working with a total of 182 local authorities in England to fight climate change using trees and woods. Thank you for making a difference. 

Results are in for European Tree of the Year

The annual European Tree of the Year competition celebrates the stories and community connections of landmark trees across 16 countries. Results for this year’s contest were announced on 17 March, with Liverpool’s Allerton Oak placing seventh. It received an impressive 16,449 votes and was up against some serious contenders this year! The top three places went to:

  1. Czech Republic's Guardian of the Flooded Village
  2. Croatia’s Ginkgo from Daruvar
  3. Russia’s Lonely Poplar

Thank you to everyone who voted and celebrated the incredible trees of Europe.

Our best All Party Parliamentary Group meeting yet

Back in January, an incredible 1,867 of you asked your MP to attend our All Party Parliamentary Group for Ancient Woods and Veteran Trees. Your support was unprecedented and thanks to the emails you sent, a staggering 24 parliamentarians came on 21 January. That's four times the usual number! The major political parties and constituencies from across the UK were well represented.

We launched our Emergency Tree Plan on the day, detailing our recommendations on what MPs need to do to boost UK tree canopy cover. The group’s name was also changed to the APPG for Woods and Trees. This gives us scope to protect, restore and plant all woods and trees in the future, not just those that are ancient and veteran.

In the current climate we can’t plan a new date just yet, but we’re looking forward to building on this momentum as soon as we can.

Smithy Wood saved after six year battle

Plans for a motorway service station in the middle of ancient Smithy Wood were senseless and unjustified. Sitting alongside the M1 north of Sheffield, four hectares of habitat for birds, bats, bluebells and butterflies faced demolition.

You’ve campaigned with us for six long years to pressure the council and developers to save Smithy Wood. More than 3,600 of you joined our most recent round of campaigning and we were delighted in January to learn that the application was withdrawn. You made this victory possible. Thank you.

Creative ways to get your nature fix

Campaigning for woods and trees is currently limited by the need to stay at home during the coronavirus crisis, but there are still lots of ways to enjoy the nature we love. Explore our ideas, and please remember to follow our guidelines on staying safe.