photo of beech and other trees in autumn

How to double tree cover? Your top 5 ideas

We asked you to share your best ideas for doubling tree cover in the UK. These are our 5 favourite suggestions.
  Published:  23 Jul 2019    |      2 minute read

We need to double the UK's tree cover to help the climate and restore nature. And because trees don’t grow overnight, we need to start right away.

The good news is that lots of people agree and they are adding their names to our trees petition.

There are plenty of ways to cover more of the UK in trees, but we wanted to know what you thought. How would you help double tree cover?

Top 5 tree ideas

1. Sarah – Plant trees in pedestrianised streets

There are a few movements to pedestrianise streets that have previously been roads, such as in Aldwych, London.

These new developments, with trees, could change the vision of our streets. Rather than grey pavements, let's have some trees.

2. Valeska – Work with landlords to promote tree-friendly gardens

I've lived in rented flats outside of Manchester city centre, usually in converted Victorian houses that contain a small number of flats and have a shared garden.

In my experience, letting agents are responsible for garden maintenance and approach this in a totally haphazard manner, eg by sending people to cut bushes when they're about to bloom or not mowing the lawn for months (allowing it to turn into a gorgeous wildflower meadow) only then to raze it to the ground so it barely recovers.

This made me wonder. Is there scope to work with private landlords and letting agents to manage these shared gardens in a way that is better for the environment and less costly for landlords/letting agents? After all, it's silly to spend money on lawn mowing etc when tenants (and all manner of wildlife) would much prefer longer grass.

A tree-planting campaign could be part of that. Maybe we could run a two-pronged campaign to engage tenants on one side and letting agents/landlords on the other? I'm not sure how outside space is managed in social housing but that could also be an area to focus on.

Bumble bee in garden

3. Christine – Plant more trees on the London Green Belt

I live in Collier Row, Romford, where there are fields and already many young oak trees, which have obviously sprung up from the small number of mature oaks.

I think these trees should be protected and increased to help improve air quality and people's awareness of how important they are.

Tree facts: Bluebell flowers in Sherwood Forest
Bluebell flowers in Sherwood Forest, Nottingham
Credit: istock

4. Oona – Protect existing trees and increase tree cover on farmland

My first idea is to gather volunteers to get their local council to protect existing trees under a tree protection order (TPO). It can stop landowners felling trees, which is a big issue where I live.

My second idea is inspired by a publican in Norfolk. On his retirement he went round to ask local farmers if he could plant trees along their hedges. He has since died but the hundreds of trees he planted are thriving. As these trees don't encumber the farmers, they are open to the idea. It obviously helps if you know the farmers or have local contacts who do.

My third idea is to approach farmers to ask if there are any areas on their farms not suitable for ploughing/farming that they might be willing to rewild, ie, areas in which we could plant trees.

My fourth idea is my dream! We club together in buying plots of land and plant them ourselves. Land that is unsuitable for development is actually fairly cheap. There are enough of us who could chip in to raise these funds.

5. Elizabeth – Develop neighbourhood tree-planting

Plants trees, native shrubs and flowers on bits of no man's land, on street corners or at the sides of roads. Possibly getting schools, colleges and universities involved too.

Thank you to everyone who took part

We enjoyed reading every single one of your ideas.

It was tough to short-list our favourites. We chose them on the basis of how creative but also how realistic they were. It was also important that they could be implemented relatively easily, both nationally and locally.

Join today to help double tree cover