Sir Oliver Heald calls for more tree-planting in response to flooding

MP for North East Hertfordshire, Sir Oliver Heald, has asked the Environment Secretary, Liz Truss MP, to look into increased tree-planting to help prevent flooding and combat climate change.

In a question to the Secretary of State following her statement in the House on recent flooding, Sir Oliver said that she “will be aware that Chapter 5 of the Paris agreement is about the need to protect forests and to have more trees in the world if we are to tackle some of the problems related to carbon. Does that not also have a relevance for flooding? Does she agree that, as part of the work that she has described, it is important to look at whether we need more tree planting in this country? The House has taken initiatives such as the Westminster wood and the national forest to try to encourage tree planting, but perhaps we need more.”

Liz Truss MP replied, “I want to make all Members aware that we have a tree-planting scheme for schools at the moment. We are collaborating with the Woodland Trust on that and schools can apply; we are close to the deadline, so people should look that up as soon as possible. It is part of our pledge to plant 11 million trees over this Parliament. Of course, however, we can do more. Dieter Helm will certainly look at that as part of the work of the Natural Capital Committee.”

Commenting afterwards, Sir Oliver said, “An increased number of trees in this country can help stabilise the ground and tackle increasing levels of carbon in the atmosphere. I repeat my encouragement to local schools to take part in the Woodland Trust’s offer of tree-planting help, and I am glad that the Government is also supporting this.”

Follow Sir Oliver on Twitter at www.twitter.com/OliverHealdMP