The Prime Minister today set out a post-coronavirus recovery plan for the UK economy. Responding to Boris Johnson's speech, Woodland Trust CEO, Darren Moorcroft said:

“The Prime Minister’s plans to rebuild the UK economy need to acknowledge that we can't build a more resilient economy without a resilient environment. Action to restore our natural environment along with other green projects will cut carbon and reboot the economy, it’s a win-win.

“Woods and trees belong at the heart of any ‘green recovery’ worthy of the name. That means protecting what we have as well as striving to increase tree cover.  It is vital, as the nation strives to stimulate economic recovery, that environmental protections are not relaxed. The Woodland Trust is already fighting over 1000 cases of ancient woods under threat – more than we have seen before - with the route of infrastructure projects such as HS2 to the fore as a major source of these threats. A strong plan-led system that is built on evidence that assesses environmental harm is central to ensuring that we protect our woods and trees.

“The opportunity to initiate an effective ‘green recovery’ is in our grasp, the potential to create a more prosperous future, to tackle climate change, restore nature, and create healthier places for people and wildlife. This requires vision and investment and we hope to see that from the Prime Minister and Chancellor over the coming weeks. 

“A new National Nature Service could help to tackle some of the environmental challenges we face by providing meaningful work that delivers real conservation benefits.  However, it is imperative that any scheme is properly funded by government, as part of the wider activities focused on enhancing access to nature for all, the restoration and creation of thousands of hectares of new habitat for wildlife, and promoting healthier, happier communities across the country.”

Notes to editors

For media queries only please contact Steve Marsh on 01476 581121 or stevemarsh@woodlandtrust.org.uk. Public enquiries should be directed to 0330 333 3300 or enquiries@woodlandtrust.org.uk.

The Woodland Trust 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:  

  1. protect ancient woodland which is rare, unique and irreplaceable
  2. restoration of damaged ancient woodland, bringing precious pieces of our natural history back to life
  3. plant native trees and woods with the aim of creating resilient landscapes for people and wildlife.

Established in 1972, the Woodland Trust now has more than 1,000 sites in its care covering approximately 29,000 hectares. Access to its woods is free so everyone can benefit from woods and trees.