The results of the European Tree of the Year contest have been announced, with the Hungarian Tree of Bataszek winning with 72,653 votes. More than 200,000 people voted online.
The UK entries were the Cubbington Pear Tree in Warwickshire (8th), threatened by the proposed HS2 route, Suffragette Oak in Glasgow (10th), Peace Tree in Belfast (13th), and ‘Survival at the Cutting Edge’ (14th), an oak tree in the National Botanic Garden of Wales. All were chosen in a public vote carried out by the Woodland Trust last autumn, supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
The European contest which began in 2011 is organised by the Environmental Partnership Association and this was the second year that an entry for England was submitted. The UK’s entries yet again scraped together a significantly lower amount of votes in comparison to the top three.
Woodland Trust ancient tree expert Jill Butler, said: “The UK needs to follow the lead of other European countries that place huge cultural importance on their trees. The lack of votes from across the UK would suggest people don’t seem to value or care about trees as much as people from other parts of Europe. “
“We’re also being alerted to an increasing number of veteran or ancient trees being felled or managed without the necessary advice beforehand. Many of these could have been a future Tree of the Year and with advice from organisations like the Woodland Trust we can make sure those which remain are better preserved for future generations to enjoy.”
The nomination period for the next UK Tree of the Year will open in the summer, and it’s hoped UK entries will rank higher in the European Tree of the year contest in 2017.
Over 13,000 people have already supported the Trust’s call for a register of all trees of National Special Interest. Help look after our special trees and find out more about the campaign at: www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/vitrees