Updated: Dec 19, 2019
This 3rd prediction for Horticulture, Garden Design and Gardening for 2020, will as promised be a positive one. Following on from my 2nd depressing prediction, this one is hopefully more of a crowd pleaser.
So without further ado, my 3rd prediction for 2020 is...
Trees will be a priority again and this time I mean planting them, not hacking them down!
Carbon footprint is a particular concern for most, well-minded and environmentally conscious people and one of the ways we can offset, at least in part, our carbon footprint is to plant trees.
With a flight to Athens from London Gatwick producing 379Kg of CO2 per person each way, it turns out that we need a LOT of trees to offset our footprint! So many in fact that we actually don’t have enough free space in the UK to achieve it. I’m sorry, I promised a more upbeat prediction... well, yes there are issues, but we can both reduce our CO2 production and offset simultaneously. There are a number of calculators to work out Carbon Footprint available online Click here for just one of those.
With a General Election just days away, all parties have promised substantial tree planting as part of their manifestos. This has got to be a good thing and with numbers ranging from 300 million by 2025 , rising to 2 billion in 2040 (The Labour Party), The Conservatives will plant 30 million trees a year (I.e. 600 million trees by 2040), The Liberal Democrats will plant 60 million a year and the Greens 70 million a year. Whatever way you look at this, whoever comes to power in a week, we are due a massive tree planting campaign in England and Wales for at least 5 years (assuming they aren’t all feeding us lies of course).
So, rather than me feeling desperately unhappy about councils cutting down healthy trees or necessary movement bans on tree species as a result of pest and disease issues, I am delighted to say that trees are on the agenda in a positive way.
This will help reduce flood issues in some areas. It will create habitats for wildlife (again assuming that we are talking about a diverse range of native and even non-native tree species and not monocropping.). It will rewood our countryside to a manner not seen since Henry VIII removed huge swathes of trees to build a naval fleet. It will help us find new clonal selections of native species more resilient than the standard stock. It will do a great many things for us culturally as well as environmentally and that must be a good thing.
Now, having written this, I acknowledge that these promises have already been made. My prediction really is that one of them will do at least some of what they have promised when they win.
Finally and most importantly as a Scot, I’ll just say that the Scottish government planted 22 million trees last year and are for 2019, significantly ahead of their annual target of 10,000 hectares of tree planting per year. Having not always hit targets, they have, at least been trying hard and it turns out you can just quietly get on with it without needing to win an election by promising it.
Click here to visit Friends of The Earth page on UK Manifesto pledges for Tree planting for more detailed info on party manifesto pledges.