Ancient oaks at Crock Hill, New Forest, Hampshire

National Trust to plant 20 million new trees over the next ten years

As the charity turns 125 years old on Sunday, plans for its future have been released

The National Trust has announced ambitious plans to plant and establish 20 million new trees over the course of the next ten years.

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To mark the 125th anniversary of the organisation, details of how the Trust will establish over 18,000 hectares of woodland – an area equivalent to one and a half times the size of Manchester.

Araucaria araucana
© Marianne Majerus

The move comes as part of the Trust’s focus on helping to tackle climate change, which is key in the plans for its future. It is also aiming to become carbon net zero by 2030.

The National Trust’s director General Hilary McGrady announced the initiatives in a speech this week which set in motion the charity’s 125th birthday celebrations.

Other elements of the work includes locking up carbon by maintaining peat bogs, investing in renewable energy and reducing the Trust’s carbon footprint.

There are also plans to unlock green spaces near urban areas over the course of a year, in order to try to inspire people to engage with nature and address a ‘worrying disconnect’.

Work will also be done to try to reverse the decline in nature through project that include helping clean up the UK’s rivers and waterways, reintroducing species and repurposing land in favour of woodland and carbon sequestration.

McGrady 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.”

The planned increase in woodland will mean that 17 per cent of the land the charity cares for will be covered in woodland, up from 10 per cent. Seventeen per cent is the figure required nationwide if the government is to hit its own net zero target by 2050.

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In 1980 the National Trust had one million members, at its 100th anniversary it had three million. In 2020, the Trust hopes to welcome its six millionth member.