lolo Williams, TV and radio naturalist and wildlife author has joined the Woodland Trust’s calls for people power in the wake of repeated failings by governments on urgent tree planting to tackle climate change.

The Woodland Trust (Coed Cadw) has launched the UK’s largest mass tree planting campaign – urging the public to pick up their spades and take action on 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. 

We’re facing a climate crisis and we need to act urgently to tackle it. One thing we need to do is to plant more trees to soak up carbon from the atmosphere. That’s why I’ve pledged to support the Big Climate Fightback, which aims to get as many people as possible to pledge to plant a tree on 30 November this year. Will you join me?

lolo Williams
TV and radio naturalist

The action has been sparked by the failure of Governments across the UK to meet annual tree planting commitments. Sadly, the Welsh Government has not managed to deliver its ambitious tree planting target of 2,000 ha per year, managing only 520 ha during the 2018-19 planting season. This is despite tree planting being part of its own plans to reduce net reductions, and Committee for Climate Change calling for dramatic increases in tree planting if we are to stand any chance of achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

At Wales level the Woodland Trust has launched a petition on the Welsh Assembly website which calls on the Welsh Government urgently to increase tree cover, by 5,000 hectares a year in urban areas, farms and in the uplands in order to help tackle the climate and ecological emergencies. The charity is asking everyone to support the campaign by going online to sign this.

The petition calls for at least half of the trees to be native broadleaves, so as to secure the greatest benefits for biodiversity and public well-being, also for people to be involved in finding sites, planting, and growing trees right across Wales. It also calls for a new ‘Hedges and Edges’ scheme to support and encourage the use of trees in sustainable agriculture, known as agroforestry. And crucially, it strongly backs the creation of a new national forest for Wales, an idea that has been proposed by the First Minister and backed by the Welsh Government.  

The Woodland Trust will be hosting planting days across the UK on November 30. This will include at least three events in Wales, near Swansea, Machynlleth and Neath, though the latter is now fully booked. More details can be found by going to www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/bigclimatefightback and clicking on ‘Pledge to plant’ and then ‘Find an event near you’.

The charity is bidding to plant a tree for every person in the UK by 2025. All the trees provided by the Woodland Trust will be UK sourced and grown native broadleaf varieties such as oak, birch and hawthorn.

Ways to get involved in the Big Climate Fightback:

  • People who work with young people are urged to inspire them to get involved and plant trees.
  • Businesses are urged to inspire employees to get involved.
  • Communities can influence landowners like local authorities to let them plant trees.
  • The public can attend planting events hosted by The Woodland Trust and its partners.
  • Everyone can use their networks and social media channels to spread the word – #EveryTreeCounts


For more information and to pledge to plant a tree visit: www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/bigclimatefightback

Image: An image of Iolo Williams that can be used to illustrate this story can be downloaded from flickr.com

Notes to editors

For media enquiries please contact Rory Francis at roryfrancis@woodlandtrust.org.uk or the Woodland Trust press office on 01476 581121 / media@woodlandtrust.org.uk

UK tree planting at a glance:

  • The percentage of woodland cover in the UK remains at 13% (10% in England, 15% in Wales, 19% in Scotland and 8% in Northern Ireland). For comparison, the European average is 38%. 
  • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said that if the world wanted to limit the rise to 1.5C by 2050, an extra 1bn hectares (2.4bn acres) of trees would be needed.
  • The UK Government committed to act on the Committee on Climate Change recommendations and legislate for net zero emissions by 2050. The CCC report called for an increase in UK woodland cover to 17% by 2050. This would require a planting rate of 30,000 hectares a year until 2050. To do this 50 million trees would need to go into the ground each year.
  • The Woodland Trust continues to play its part. In 2018 the Trust planted, gave away or sold 3,254,048 trees, creating some 1,714 hectares of woodland across the UK. In England the Trust planted over 500 hectares of native woodland, 50% of the total figure reported. We stand ready to continue and expand our work with Government, partners, landowners, community groups and schools.

Government tree planting statistics, snapshot below or found in full on the Gov.uk website.  

Woodland Trust (Coed Cadw) is the largest woodland conservation charity in the UK. It has over 500,000 supporters. It wants to see a UK rich in native woods and trees for people and wildlife. The Trust has three key aims:  i) protect ancient woodland which is rare, unique and irreplaceable, ii) restoration of damaged ancient woodland, bringing precious pieces of our natural history back to life, iii) plant native trees and woods with the aim of creating resilient landscapes for people and wildlife.

Established in 1972, the Woodland Trust now has over 1,000 sites in its care covering over 28,700 hectares. These include over 100 sites in Wales, with a total area of 2,897 hectares (7,155 acres). It offers free public access to nearly all of its sites. The Trust’s Welsh language name, 'Coed Cadw', is an old Welsh term, used in medieval laws to describe protected or preserved woodland.