Countdown begins to a new Charter for Trees, Woods and People
More than 50* cross-sector organisations call for public support in safeguarding the future of the UK’s trees and woods.
November 2017 will be a historic moment for trees and woods in the UK. 800 years after the 1217 Charter of the Forest** enshrined the right of free men to access the sustainable bounty of woodland and trees in Royal Forests, a new charter will be launched to bring the value of trees back to the forefront of public consciousness and political decision-making.
The Charter for Trees, Woods and People will be a set of key principles created by the public and organisations across the UK that gives clear guidance to individuals, businesses, communities and decision-makers on how to ensure that trees are given the opportunity to bring all the benefits they can to society now and in the future.
The campaign is led by the Woodland Trust, which chairs a steering group of 57 organisations representing forestry, conservation, community woodlands, local governance, faith groups, health, the legal sector and more.
Beccy Speight, Woodland Trust CEO said: “This is truly a historic venture. Never before have so many diverse organisations come together to speak with one voice about the future of trees and woods. That they have done so reflects the severity of the situation facing the UK’s trees and woods today. A perfect storm of natural and man-made threats is being exacerbated by a lack of political will to ensure their future. Society needs to recognise the true value of trees and woods – and that means people of all backgrounds speaking up about how they feel trees enhance their lives.”
One of the key objectives of the campaign is for people to understand the value of trees, and for everyone to do their bit to stand up for their local trees, and make the most of the benefits*** they bring.
The organisations involved are calling for people to add their voice by sharing what they think is important about trees and woods, and are encouraging people to get together with friends, family and colleagues to ‘re-leaf a winter tree’ to mark Tree Dressing Day (4th December), which falls at the end of the Tree Council’s National Tree Week (26th November – 4th December this year). Free packs are available to help people run an event in which people decorate leaves, share their thoughts on the value of trees, and decorate a tree in their community. The leaves will then be sent in to help inform the charter, and to demonstrate public support for trees.
Hundreds of tree dressing day events will take place in communities, schools, universities and companies throughout the Tree Council’s National Tree Week, and especially on the weekend of Tree Dressing Day in early December.
Today (23rd November 2016), our nation’s woods and trees are facing unprecedented pressures from development, pests and diseases and climate change. They risk being neglected, undervalued and forgotten. Now is the time to create a new charter, a broader charter that recognises the importance of trees in our society, celebrates their enormous contribution to our lives, and acts now so that future generations can benefit from them too.
Jonathan Owen, chief executive of the National Association of Local Councils, said: "We’re proud to be one of more than 50 other organisations, from across all sectors of society, calling for a Charter for Trees, Woods and People. We firmly believe that people and trees are stronger together, but our nation’s woods and trees are facing unprecedented pressures from development, disease and climate change and are at risk of being neglected, undervalued and forgotten. That is why we are calling for a Charter for Trees, Woods and People to be developed that reflects how trees have shaped the UK’s society, landscape and lives. It’s time to stick up for trees and woods."
Simon Lloyd, Royal Forestry Society CEO said: “For woodlands to provide the environmental, economic and social benefits we all desire, they need to be managed. This charter will provide an evidence base of public and professional support to help decision makers - from planners to health professionals - support woodland landscapes new and old and encourage more owners to value and manage their existing woods.”