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13/01/2020

National Trust to use trees to lock up 300k tonnes of carbon

Words: Laura Edgar
Tree planting / iStock-845218618

The National Trust has announced plans to establish 18,000 hectares  of woodland (20 million trees) as part of its ambition to become carbon net zero by 2030.

The charity said the woodland would lock up 300,000 tonnes of carbon, which is equivalent to the electricity output of 370,000 homes a year.

It will extend tree cover on land managed by the National Trust from 10 per cent to 17 per cent. The charity has also set out other measures to help its estate hit the net-zero target.

Plans to lock up carbon also include maintaining peat bogs, investing in renewable energy, reducing the trust’s carbon footprint, unlocking green spaces near urban areas, and running a year-long campaign to inspire people to engage with nature to redress what the trust considers a “worrying disconnect”.

Hilary McGrady, director general at the National Trust, said: “It’s our 125th year and the National Trust has always been here for the benefit of everyone. That is why we are making these ambitious announcements in response to what is needed from our institution today.

“As Europe’s biggest conservation charity, we have a responsibility to do everything we can to fight climate change, which poses the biggest threat to the places, nature and collections we care for.

“People need nature now more than ever. If they connect with it, then they look after it. And working together is the only way we can reverse the decline in wildlife and the challenges we face due to climate change.”

McGrady points out that woodlands help to prevent flooding as well as providing a home for wildlife, and she urged the government to deliver an environment bill that is ambitious and has a properly independent watchdog.

“We can only do so much alone. Now, more than ever, the whole environmental movement needs to pull together.”

Image credit | iStock

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