Newly-planted oak sapling

Plant for the future

When we enjoy the company of a treasured tree or the beauty of a favourite wood we often owe thanks to those with the foresight and confidence to invest in the future. We must show that same generosity of spirit, that same sense of hope for the future, and plant more now. Line streets with living greenery, let trees allow shifting colour into every life. More orchards for communities, more hedges for wildlife, more forests for timber and jobs. Nurture people’s pride in their local trees and empower them to care for their future. Right tree, right place, bright future.


  1. Increase canopy cover across the UK
    The UK’s low canopy cover means there are fewer trees and less accessible woodland than we need for a future in which trees and people stand stronger together. We should pursue opportunities to plant more trees and increase canopy cover across rural and urban landscapes, prioritising areas with low canopy cover when planning at a local or national level. We need to develop innovative ways to encourage more tree planting and consider how woodland creation and tree planting can be linked to house building and other priority areas for development through innovative approaches such as agroforestry and sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS).

  2. Plant the right tree for the right place
    Every tree planted needs to be a tree that will survive and thrive. A tree that is wanted and planted appropriately will bring the most benefit and avoid potential problems as it grows. Plant healthy, vigorous trees with known provenance that are able and ready to thrive in the environment in which they are destined to live.

  3. Take a landscape view
    Trees do not exist in isolation. They affect, and are affected by, the wider landscape and should be planted with this in mind. All new planting should consider the local character of the area and be accompanied by a researched and realistic management plan that takes a short, medium and long-term view.

  4. Plant with purpose
    Plant trees to create functional, accessible spaces that deliver for people by improving health, providing timber, creating local enterprise and employment opportunities, improving soil and water quality and their management, and improving agricultural land use.

  5. Plant for beauty
    Trees can define the look and feel of a place for those who spend time there. Plant flowering trees or trees with colourful berries or changing leaf colour where people live and work to provide beauty, connect with the seasons and to inspire a love of trees in those who experience them.

  6. Plant more hedges and replenish those that become damaged
    In rural and urban areas hedges provide functional beauty as screens, enclosures, habitat for wildlife and by helping to reduce noise and air pollution. Landowners, local authorities and home owners should be encouraged and supported to maximise opportunities for hedge planting wherever they can be properly managed and do not detract from valued landscape characteristics, and to replenish and maintain those that exist.

  7. Plant more orchards
    Orchards are community resources that can make even a small green space deliver for people and wildlife. Orchard planting and maintenance of traditional orchards in urban and rural landscapes should be encouraged and supported locally and by national policy.

  8. Plan ahead
    Forward planning allows professionals to be prepared to deliver planting according to good practice, but targets are only positive if they can be trusted to be met. We need planting policies and incentives that ensure realistic and achievable annual planting targets and consistent levels of new planting, enabling nurseries to plan effectively and supply demand without using imported trees.

  9. Involve everyone in planting trees
    People remember and care about the trees they plant. Wherever possible, local communities should be involved in planting and caring for trees, in order to create a sense of responsibility for their wellbeing. Children should be given the opportunity to plant trees while at school so the next generation gains skills and knowledge about the care, protection and choice of trees.
  • Woodland Indicators
    The Woodland Trust’s Woodland Indicators by Parliamentary Constituency study compares woodland cover, ancient woodland threats and woodland accessibility across the UK.
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  • Planting the Future
    Confor's Planting the Future report examines the value of trees for our economy, the environment and society.
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  • Trees and Development
    Northern Ireland’s local councils and the Department for Infrastructure offer a best practice guide for considering the importance of trees during development.
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  • Plantations for People, Planet and Prosperity
    This report by New Generations Plantations looks into the beneficial role plantations could play in combatting a number of environmental and economic issues.
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  • Agroforestry: A new approach to increasing farm production
    A Nuffield Farming Scholarships Report by Stephen Briggs explaining how trees can allow farms to make better use of natural resources for food production.
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  • UK Planting facts and figures 2017
    The Woodland Trust summarises the current issues around woodland creation in the UK.
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