This week, our CEO Nick Webb was invited to the presentation from Environmental Secretary Michael Gove and the Prime Minister Theresa May about DEFRA’s 25 year plan to improve the environment. Obviously it’s a white paper, and anything can change, but we thought there was actually quite a lot in there to get excited about.

Creating the Northern Forest

This was the thing that we found the most exciting (obviously) – the Woodland Trust are working with our 5 northern sister Community Forests to create a coast to coast forest, by planting another 50 million trees. It’s ambitious, and not anywhere near funded yet, but this would be an incredible step towards the UK’s goal of 12% tree cover. (In comparison, France, Spain and Germany are in the 30%’s.)

Ridding the UK of unnecessary plastic

The PM talked about banning all avoidable plastic packaging by 2042 and introducing a 5p charge for bottles/takeaway cups (like the successful plastic bag charge). They also mentioned plastic free aisles in supermarkets and the use of foreign aid money to help developing countries properly dispose of plastic.          

Helping endangered species

The aim, through the northern forest and encouragement of farmers and developers, is to create 500,000 hectares of new habitat for endangered species in the UK, as well as getting more heavily involved in the fight against poaching, and the ivory trade around the globe.

Perhaps the most encouraging thing is that we were reassured that we’ll get a green Brexit – something which hasn’t really been confirmed until now (or, arguably, spoken about at all). With so many positive ideas in this report, and floating around in the ether right now, let’s hope that it isn’t just words on paper – let’s do everything we can to encourage the government to act on them, and make it all happen. Our future is growing!

The full report is pretty long, but there's some interesting stuff in there - if you're interested in finding out more about the UK's Community Forests then their website has lots more info.

One of the best things you can do to directly get involved is to come and plant a tree, or lots of trees, at our Public Tree Planting on Sun 4th Feb. It's free, and we provide everything you need to get stuck in. Just make sure you wear sensible footwear and wrap up warm!