Liberal Democrats vow to plant 60 million trees a year in bid to curb climate change
The Liberal Democrats have vowed to spend billions of pounds on the “largest tree-planting programme” in Britain’s history if they form the next government.
Jo Swinson said their “ambitious” plan for 60 million trees every year would cost £6bn over the next Parliament in an bid to boost Britain’s forest cover by one million hectares by 2045.
The trees would be planted “all over the country”, from the Northern Forest to increasing the numbers found in towns and cities, the party said.
They said ministers had “woefully failed” over the last year by planting just 1,420 hectares of trees – 71% short of their 5,000 hectares a year target.
They also cited figures showing that just 13% of the UK is currently covered by woodland, while the European Union average stands at 35%.
Ms Swinson said the initiative would help the party achieve its goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 and to halve emissions by 2030.
The Lib Dem leader also said the proposal would help to reduce air pollution and increase use of timber products in construction, which capture carbon and reduce construction emissions.
“The climate emergency is destroying our natural environment and threatening our children’s futures,” she said.
“Our plan includes the largest tree-planting programme in UK history, which will green our towns and countryside to absorb damaging emissions.
“This will help us reach net-zero emissions, and will nurture biodiversity, combat air pollution and improve public spaces.
“It’s clear that the Conservative Party doesn’t take climate change seriously.
“Only the Liberal Democrats have a radical plan to make a real impact in the fight against climate change and build a brighter future for our planet.”