The Woodland Trust’s Emergency Tree Plan

How to increase tree cover and address the nature and climate emergency.

In the 2019 general election, every major political party backed the necessary increase in woods and trees in response to the climate and nature crisis.

The Woodland Trust’s Emergency Tree Plan sets out key recommendations for national and local governments across the UK to:

  • Look after the trees we have
  • Create new policies, capacity and funding for woods and trees
  • Take local authority action to identify land for trees and increase canopy cover.


Key recommendations of the Emergency Tree Plan for the UK

National and local governments across the UK must:

Look after the trees we have.

  • Protect and restore existing trees and native woodland.
  • Invest in UR tree nurseries now to enable a rapid expansion of Uk-grown trees to reduce disease risk of importing trees.
  • Improve bio-security at the border.

Create new policies, capacity and funding for woods and trees.

  • Set new country annual targets on a path to reach 19% UR woodland cover by 2050.
  • Combine quantity and quality targets for new tree cover to ensure it stores carbon, supports the recovery of wildlife and benefits people.


Deliver an emergency increase in capacity in tree and woodland teams at all levels of national and local government.

Target public money investment in new tree cover to maximise public goods like wildlife.


  • Public forest estates and other public land must lead the way in showing how to integrate climate action with nature recovery.
  • Grow the nature-based carbon offset market for unavoidable emissions.
  • Combine forestry and woodland strategies alongside agriculture in an overall land-use strategy that enables new land for trees as a priority.
  • Provide landowners with financial support for the natural regeneration of woodland.  


Take local authority action:

Each Local Authority to write an Emergency Tree Plan to identify land for trees, and set annual expansion targets, whilst protecting existing native woodland and trees. Ensure all development land includes a minimum 30% tree canopy cover.


Download a PDF version of the plan  (9.63 MB)

Fight for the future of our planet

Governments at all levels must act before it’s too late. Help to make our recommendations reality.

Urge action now

How trees combat climate change – The Woodland Trust view


Share This