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Free tree for every household in Wales in new climate initiative
6 December 2021, 11:34
Every home in Wales is set to be offered a free tree as part of a climate initiative from the Welsh Government.
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The climate change scheme will give people the chance to choose a tree of their own to plant or have one planted on their behalf by Coed Cadw, the Woodland Trust.
Trees will be available to collect from March from one of five regional community hubs, set to expand by a further 20 hubs across Wales by October 2022.
The project is estimated to cost around £2 million.
The deputy minister for climate change in Wales, Lee Waters, visited one of the trust's woodland creation projects near Gnoll Park in Neath, South Wales.
He said he hoped the campaign would inspire families to go on planting trees themselves in the future.
"We need to plant lots more trees to meet our climate change targets by the end of this decade - we have to plant 86 million more trees in Wales," Mr Waters said.
"Our tree-planting record has not been great and we need to increase it by 15-fold every year. That is a massive challenge."
He added: "We want households to play their part. We've issued a call to arms really.
"It's a practical thing, because if every household planted a tree, we'd have a million trees planted. But it's also about awareness raising and getting people to think about nature and the role trees can have.
"Our message is trees are amazing - we've been neglecting them, we need to plant lots, lots more of them and you and your family can play your part."
However, Mr Waters admitted that individual tree planting was not the answer to reaching the target, and said the land owners of Wales, such as farmers, would need to embrace tree growth for the country to see a real difference.
Mr Waters said he hoped to follow in similar footsteps to Belfast City Council, which has created a heat map of where people would like to see trees planted in their communities.
A consultation on plans to create a national forest for Wales will launch in early 2022, he said.
Natalie Buttriss, Coed Cadw director, said: "We are delighted to be working with the Welsh Government in this great community tree giveaway to get thousands of native trees in the ground.
"We want people from all backgrounds to be part of planting the national forest for Wales."