The Woodland Trust is urging tree lovers to stump up nominations to become the next Tree of the Year, with the conservation charity also calling on Government to act on proposals which could lead to increased protection for some of the country’s most famous and ancient specimens.
The Brimmon Oak in Wales narrowly missed out on being crowned the 2017 European Tree of the Year and the Woodland Trust, supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, is hoping to go one step better next time around. People are asked to nominate a tree ‘with a story’; this could be a link to a historical figure or event, a tree at the heart of a community or one which is just well loved.
The Conservative Manifesto pledges to ‘provide stronger protections’ for ancient woods and trees, which reinforces recommendations in the recent housing white paper to increase protection through changes to planning policy in England.
These changes specifically put ‘aged and veteran trees’ (and ancient woodland) on par with other protected habitats like National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. With the opportunities the departure from the EU will provide to strengthen regulations, the Trust believes much stronger care and protection can be given to ancient trees and woods.
Jill Butler, Woodland Trust ancient tree advisor, said: “We came so close to claiming the European crown this year, which is incredibly heartening to see such support and love for a UK tree. With the recent positive news about improved protection we hope everyone nominating a special tree this year may soon see better protection in place.”
Once again winning trees will also benefit from a tree care award of up to £1,000 thanks to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery. This can be used for arboricultural surveys or other maintenance, interpretation or even to support a community event in celebration of the tree.
Clara Govier, head of charities at People’s Postcode Lottery added: “We are delighted that players are able to support this wonderful celebration of the nation’s special trees and what they mean to people. For the second year running money will be available to directly benefit the trees.”
The Woodland Trust has been recording data on its Ancient Tree Inventory since 2006 and over 160,000 trees have been added to date.
Anyone wishing to nominate a tree has until the end of July to take part, find out more at www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/treeoftheyear
Photo credit: WTML/Julian Hight