Britain’s carbon emissions could be cut by an impressive 10 per cent if a massive tree planting campaign is undertaken in the next 40 years, says a review led by Professor Sir David Read, recently Vice-President of the Royal Society and currently Emeritus Professor of Plant Sciences at the University of Sheffield.
And this is good news for the Yorkshire Dales, which has one of the lowest areas of forest and woodland in the UK, thanks to massive tree felling in the 18th and 19th Centuries to make way for sheep pasture.
The Forestry Commission asked Sir David and a panel of experts to study the contribution trees make to reducing carbon emissions and they came up with this answer: cover an extra 4% of our land area with trees and national emissions would be cut by 10%.
These findings were welcomed yesterday by Mr Hilary Benn, the Defra Secretary, who said: “Forests and trees are an important part of the way we live and interact with our surroundings, and we cannot underestimate the role that trees will play in reducing our carbon emissions.
“Greater forest cover can help us achieve this either through directly absorbing C02 or by providing more sustainable materials for construction and renewable energy.”
This Government has made a massive reduction in our carbon emissions a major target although there are many skeptics who believe that the science of global warming is flawed. Never-the-less, more trees in Britain – once covered in forests from Land’s End to John o’Groats - would be welcomed by countryside lovers and could become an important source of jobs in rural areas.