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Call for a new charter for trees

By Tim Sandle     Jan 21, 2016 in Environment
London - Several environmental and conservation groups are calling for a new national charter to protect trees and woods from the risks associated with development, disease and climate change.
In total some 48 campaign groups have come together, led by the charity the Woodland Trust, to avoid an undue loss of trees in the U.K. They are aiming for a new charter to be issued by the U.K. government in 2017.
The proposed charter states: “Our ambition is to place trees at the centre of national decision making, and back at the heart of our lives and communities. The charter will provide guidance and inspiration to allow us all to appreciate, preserve and celebrate our trees and woods.”
The reason for selecting 2017 is because it marks the 800th anniversary of when Henry III, as King of England and Prince of Wales, signed a document titled “Charter of the Forests” (or rather Carta de Foresta, as Latin was the language of the law at the time.) The charter was designed to protect woodlands (although the motivations were probably more orientated to preserving the hunting grounds of the nobility).
The campaigners are concerned trees are being neglected in urban planning and in relation to changes to climate and landscape. They also are concerned that insufficient protections are in place to deal with the diseases that afflict trees (most of which are fungal in origin, or from insects like the oak processionary moth). Loss of trees also leads to a loss of habitat for wildlife.
To build up momentum the new campaign is asking people to share tree stories and promote the importance of trees. By engaging with the public, those calling for a new charter hope the message will be harder for politicians to ignore.
Speaking with The Guardian, Beccy Speight, who is chief executive of the Woodland Trust, noted: “Our collective ambition is for a charter that puts trees back at the heart of our lives, communities and decision-making - where they belong.”
She added: “The charter will provide guidance and inspiration to allow us all to appreciate, preserve and celebrate our trees and woods for what they do for us in so many different ways.”
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