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More tree cover still needed in Hebden Bridge, say Friends of the Earth, 100 years since Forestry Act passed

Treesponsibility volunteers planting trees Photo: Treesponsibility

Friends of the Earth has named Hebden Bridge among the frontline communities demonstrating the need for more tree cover in the UK.

The organisation claims trees can act as effective flood defences, helping to reduce peak water levels by as much as a quarter.

“Having more trees will protect local communities from the climate breakdown that we’re already seeing across the UK; from heatwaves to flooding.

"Government targets for tree planting are nowhere near what we need.”

– Emi Murphy, trees campaigner at Friends of the Earth

It comes 100 years since Parliament passed the Forestry Act, which launched a tree-planting drive doubling the nation's woodland.

However, the UK still has less than half the proportional tree cover of its EU counterparts: just 13 per cent compared to a continental average of 35 per cent.

Friends of the Earth is therefore calling for a further doubling of the UK's woodland area.

Friends of the Earth is calling for a further doubling of the UK's woodland area. Credit: Friends of the Earth

Members of a climate action group, working in the area around Hebden Bridge, have planted more than a quarter of a million trees in Calderdale since it was founded.

Treesponsibility participants say they use tree planting as "a practical way to fight the immediate impacts of climate". Since 1998, Treesponsibility has planted over 250,000 trees across West Yorkshire.

Volunteers at a tree-planting session Credit: Treesponsibility

Later this year, researchers from Leeds University are expected to undertake work to estimate the impact of Treesponsibility’s plantings on the ability of soil to absorb water in heavy rainfall events.