Today was a big day for tree conservation in the UK. United Kingdom Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, made arboreal history, appointing an official “tree champion”.
And what kind of a champion is that you might ask? Before you imagine some huge medieval knight covered in wood toggles and vine armor, it’s not that kind of warrior. Rather, the idea here is to entrust one specific public representative with stopping unnecessary tree felling, while boosting planting rates.
Introducing Sir William Worsley, chairman of the National Forest Company. We know: he actually sounds like a medieval knight. In spite of this awesome title, Worsley will be in charge of something much less exciting (but just as meaningful). It’s his job to oversee the National Forest, help the government plant 11 million trees, and champion tree planting.
With tree planting in England at its lowest rate in a generation, reductions in the existing woodland have been accelerated by weak planning laws. Owing to this, Worsley’s job will be to help facilitate improved tree planting and to, well, champion a tree-centric agenda in the UK.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has confirmed Sir William will be working to “properly consult with communities before they cut down trees”. In this way, he’ll be reintroducing a tree focus into local councils.
In light of this, Worsley is on the record as saying: “Trees and woods are an important part of my life, as they are to local communities. They transform our landscapes, improve our health and well-being and help grow the economy.”
“I look forward to working with stakeholders and local authorities to promote these benefits and grow the country’s woodland cover.”