The Tree Charter Principles
We believe in:
Thriving habitats for diverse species
Urban and rural landscapes should have a rich diversity of trees, hedges and woods to provide homes, food and safe routes for our native wildlife. We want to make sure future generations can enjoy the animals, birds, insects, plants and fungi that depend upon diverse habitats.
Planting for the future
As the population of the UK expands, we need more forests, woods, street trees, hedges and individual trees across the landscape. We want all planting to be environmentally and economically sustainable with the future needs of local people and wildlife in mind. We need to use more timber in construction to build better quality homes faster and with a lower carbon footprint.
Celebrating the cultural impact of trees
Trees, woods and forests have shaped who we are. They are woven into our art, literature, folklore, place names and traditions. It’s our responsibility to preserve and nurture this rich heritage for future generations.
A thriving forestry sector that delivers for the UK
We want forestry in the UK to be more visible, understood and supported so that it can achieve its huge potential and provide jobs, forest products, environmental benefits and economic opportunities for all. Careers in woodland management, arboriculture and the timber supply chain should be attractive choices and provide development opportunities for individuals, communities and businesses.
Better protection for important trees and woods
Ancient woodland covers just 2% of the UK and there are currently more than 700 individual woods under threat from planning applications because sufficient protection is not in place.
We want stronger legal protection for trees and woods that have special cultural, scientific or historic significance to prevent the loss of precious and irreplaceable ecosystems and living monuments.
Enhancing new developments with trees
We want new residential areas and developments to be balanced with green infrastructure, making space for trees. Planning regulations should support the inclusion of trees as natural solutions to drainage, cooling, air quality and water purification. Long term management should also be considered from the beginning to allow trees to mature safely in urban spaces.
Understanding and using the natural health benefits of trees
Having trees nearby leads to improved childhood fitness, and evidence shows that people living in areas with high levels of greenery are 40% less likely to be overweight or obese. We believe that spending time among trees should be promoted as an essential part of a healthy physical and mental lifestyle and a key element of healthcare delivery.
Access to trees for everyone
Everyone should have access to trees irrespective of age, economic status, ethnicity or disability. Communities can be brought together in enjoying, celebrating and caring for the trees and woods in their neighbourhoods. Schoolchildren should be introduced to trees for learning, play and future careers.
Addressing threats to woods and trees through good management
Good management of our woods and trees is essential to ensure healthy habitats and economic sustainability. We believe that more woods should be better managed and woodland plans should aim for long term sustainability and be based upon evidence of threats and the latest projections of climate change. Ongoing research into the causes of threats and solutions should be better promoted.
Strengthening landscapes with woods and trees
Trees and woods capture carbon, lower flood risk, and supply us with timber, clean air, clean water, shade, shelter, recreation opportunities and homes for wildlife. We believe that the government must adopt policies and encourage new markets which reflect the value of these ecosystem services instead of taking them for granted.
Help shape the future. Be a part of history, sign your name and we’ll plant a tree
We need more trees. The UK has one of the lowest tree cover rates in Europe, just 12% compared to a European average of 37%.