Every household in Wales will be offered a free tree to plant as part of the Welsh Government's commitment to tackle climate change, Deputy Minister Lee Waters promised today.
The bold new policy will give people the chance to choose a tree of their own to plant or opt to have a tree planted on their behalf.
Speaking at a visit to a major Coed Cadw woodland creation project in Neath during National Tree Week, the Deputy Minister for Climate Change confirmed the Welsh Government had partnered with the Woodland Trust to deliver the campaign.
The first trees will be available to collect from March, from one of five regional community hubs that will be established. The Welsh Government aims to set up a further 20 hubs across wales by October 2022.
Earlier this year, the Deputy Minister for Climate Change led a deep dive exercise into tree planting and timber, which identified a set of actions the Welsh Government needed to take forward to avoid the catastrophic effects of climate change.
The Deputy Minister said:
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.
The deep dive made it clear to me that everyone will have a part to play if we are to be successful in tackling climate change and realising our ambitions to create a National Forest for Wales.
I am therefore pleased to announce we have partnered with the Woodland Trust to deliver a campaign that will provide every household in Wales an opportunity to plant a free tree in Wales.
This will enable people in Wales to further understand and experience the many benefits that trees can provide, not only to the environment but also to people's health and wellbeing.
The Deputy Minister made it clear that everyone in Wales could benefit from the campaign.
We understand that not all households will be able to plant a tree themselves, but will still be keen to get involved, he explained.
That is why we will make an option available to plant a tree for me', which will allow for people to opt to have a free tree planted on their behalf at locations across Wales via the community hubs and volunteers.
Instruction and guidance, including the location of community hubs near you and how to claim your tree, will soon be available through various information webpages but also locally on the ground via a network of volunteers in every area.
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.
While tree-planting is only one way to help tackle climate change, it 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.
The Deputy Minister also revealed that a consultation would launch early in 2022 on plans to create a National Forest for Wales.