Tree Champion announced to expand woodland areas

Environment Secretary Michael Gove has announced that Sir William Worsley will be the UK’s new Tree Champion to drive forward planting rates and prevent the unnecessary felling of street trees.

The chair of the National Forest Company is being tasked with supporting the government’s manifesto commitments to plant 11 million trees, plus a further one million in our towns and cities, working alongside mayors, city leaders and other key players across local government to prevent the unnecessary felling of street trees. This includes supporting the introduction of a new duty for local councils to consult before felling, as well as working across local government to ensure ancient woodland is more strongly protected.

Following the recently-launched review into National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Worsley will also help to improve the environment for the next generation and make the ambitions of our 25 Year Environment Plan a reality.

Gove said: “We have a responsibility to make sure the next generation inherit the woodlands, forests and trees they deserve. We are beginning to see good progress in growing tree cover, but we need to go further – and faster. I’m confident Sir William Worsley will bring the expertise and vision required to rapidly drive forward planting rates and prevent street trees being felled.”

Worsley added: “I am delighted to be appointed as the government’s Tree Champion. Trees and woods are an important part of my life, as they are to local communities. They transform our landscapes, improve our health and wellbeing and help grow the economy. I look forward to working with stakeholders and local authorities to promote these benefits and grow the country’s woodland cover.”