In an effort to help the country reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, the Welsh government is offering every household in Wales a free tree to plant or have planted in the country’s woodlands on their behalf. About 1.3 million native species of trees will be made available at a cost of about two million pounds.
“Trees are amazing,” Deputy Minister for Climate Change Lee Waters said, as reported by The Guardian. “They save lives by keeping our air clean, they improve people’s physical and mental health, they are essential for tackling our nature emergency, improving biodiversity and, of course, in tackling climate change.”
“To meet our climate change targets, we have to plant 86 million trees by the end of this decade,” Waters said, according to BBC News.
Trees will be made available from five locations beginning in March of 2022, with twenty more pickup sites to be added in the fall. The trees that are not planted in individuals’ gardens will be planted by Coed Cadw, The Woodland Trust in Wales.
“Some will plant a modest fruit tree in their small back garden while those with more space might plump for a sapling that will, hopefully, grow into a mighty oak,” reported Steven Morris of The Guardian.
Jerry Langford, Policy Lead for Coed Cadw, told the BBC he believes the public will be able to take care of the trees, “Trees are tough actually,” he said, “you’ve got to treat them pretty badly to kill a tree. So just a bit of tender loving care, and it will be fine.”
“In June the Welsh government held what it called a ‘deep dive’ exercise into trees and timber and concluded a step change was needed to create enough woodland to tackle the climate emergency,” reported Morris of The Guardian.
“The Labour-led government judges it needs to plant 43,000 hectares (approximately 106,000 acres) of new woodland by 2030, and 180,000 hectares by 2050 to meet climate crisis targets. In 2020, just 290 hectares of woodland was planted in Wales and annual woodland creation has not exceeded 2,000 hectares since 1975,” Morris reported.
Waters called for a construction sector overhaul, as 80 percent of the timber it currently uses is imported, according to The Independent.
“There is real opportunity for timber processors and manufacturers in Wales to contribute to a ‘wood economy’ in Wales, creating new jobs in rural Wales as well as building an innovative supply chain for high value added, longer life uses,” Waters said, as reported by The Independent.
Waters also said a consultation regarding plans to start a national forest for Wales would begin in early 2022, according to The Guardian.
“While tree-planting is only one way to help tackle climate change, it is a simple and enjoyable way for every single person in Wales to have the chance to plant a tree and watch it grow,” said Natalie Buttriss, director of The Woodland Trust in Wales, as reported by The Guardian.
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