National Poll reveals 9 in 10 of us agree: We need to plant more trees than we cut down!

29 November 2017 3 minute read

Our UK national poll finds that 91% of Brits support initiatives to plant more trees in UK cities.

More than 9 in 10 of the British public agree more trees need to be planted than cut down in the UK, according to a poll we commissioned for National Tree Week.

In a single year, 1 mature leafy tree is estimated to produce enough oxygen to allow 10 people to breathe, absorb as much as 48 pounds of carbon dioxide and have the cooling effect of 10 air conditioning units. These benefits are vital in the UK’s busy and increasingly crowded urban areas, where over 80% of the population now live.

“Many of the great trees we see in our cities today are here thanks to our ancestors, who had the foresight to plant them as long as 150 years ago. But these trees are facing a raft of threats. Countless numbers of them are now reaching old age, and many are being lost due to urban sprawl, pests and diseases, and because of financial constraints on local authority budgets”, our CEO, David Elliott, explains.

With growing urban neighbourhoods, and a steady decline in the quality of city air, we now need these trees more than ever to support the health and wellbeing of our urban communities.

David Elliott, Chief Executive, Trees for Cities

The poll of 2,000 people found that almost half (47%) were concerned about the air quality of where they live, and over two thirds (67%) were concerned about global warming and rising temperatures. However, almost half (46%) believed more trees and green spaces were an important action for mitigating the effects of climate change.

Of those polled, over 90% – equivalent to 9 in 10 of the population – agreed that it is important to plant more trees than are cut down in the UK. The same number said they would be willing to actively support initiatives which planted more.

This year we will be joined by over 5,000 community volunteers to plant an estimated 50,000 new trees this winter in cities across the UK. However, we know that significantly more urban trees need to be planted to help mitigate the increasing environmental pressures on our cities.

It’s not too late for us to be a generation that makes a positive impact on the planet.

said David. “By committing to plant more trees than we cut down, we are making our cities more livable for generations to come. We recognise that trees are not the only answer to mitigating the effects of climate change, but they can have a huge impact on cleaning and cooling our air, especially in our most built up communities.”

By intercepting rain and absorbing water in the ground, trees also lower the stress on storm drains and reduce flood risk. A mature tree can absorb between 50-100 gallons of water from the ground a year, and their roots can help improve the soil quality and prevent erosion. This is vital as storms and flash floods are increasing annually due to the impact of a changing climate.

Our poll also revealed that younger generations are the most concerned about the effects of climate change, with 80% of 25-34 years olds concerned about global warming and rising temperatures, compared to 65% of those over 55. It also found that 21% of men were not sure they believed in climate change, compared to just 13% of women.

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