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Friday, January 28, 2022

Every household in Wales to plant a tree as green areas have a ‘lower crime rate’

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Over the next year or so, every household in Wales will be offered a free tree to plant as part of the Welsh government’s plans to tackle climate change.

People can either choose a tree of their own to plant, or opt to have a tree planted on their behalf.

The first trees will be available to collect from one of five regional community hubs being set up from March next year, with a further 20 more hubs to be set up by October 2022, as part of the scheme being run with the Woodland Trust.

The government is arguing that planting more trees is not only essential to help avoid catastrophic climate change, it will also increase citizens’ wellbeing and create green jobs.

“We know trees help deal with flooding, they help your well-being, there’s very good evidence that being around trees reduces your stress and your blood pressure. There’s evidence to show that areas with lots of trees have a lower crime rate,” says the deputy minister for climate change, Lee Waters.

Waters believes the initiative can help, but more trees are still needed in the battle against the climate crisis.

“Trees are amazing – they save lives by keeping our air clean, they improve people’s physical and mental health, they are essential for tackling our nature emergency, improving biodiversity, and of course, in tackling climate change,” he adds.

“But to meet our climate change targets, we have to plant 86 million trees by the end of this decade. That’s an increase every year of 15-fold. So it’s a hell of a challenge, as well as a climate emergency,” he went on, insisting on the word “emergency.”

A consultation process will launch in early 2022 on plans to create a National Forest in Wales, according to the deputy minister.

Natalie Buttriss, director of Coed Cadw, says that the initiative is a simple and enjoyable way for every single person in Wales to have the chance to plant a tree and watch it grow.

“This project will be open to all types of people living in Wales and we hope it will inspire many individuals and local community groups to become involved. We want people from all backgrounds to be part of planting the National Forest for Wales.”

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