Green Britain: UK areas with most tree coverage revealed by incredible aerial survey

Green Britain: John Ingham and Dale Vince discuss campaign

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Researchers discovered that almost a third (31 percent) of Surrey is covered in trees, comfortably ahead of Exeter (21 percent) and London which came in third place with 20 percent tree coverage. The study was collated by OVO Energy who teamed up with Bluesky, an aerial survey company, to study tree cover using complex algorithms which analyse aerial photography and terrain datasets.

While many might expect rural areas to have topped the list, counties such as Cornwall (five percent), Suffolk (eight percent) and Norfolk (12 percent) lagged behind large industrial areas such as Manchester (19 percent), Leeds (17 percent) and Newcastle (16 percent).

The Yorkshire Dales had only four percent and coming in at the bottom is the Lake District with only 0.13 percent of its natural landscapes covered by trees.

Portsmouth was the worst city for tree coverage (four percent) and Bristol, known for its green credentials, ranks as the fifth greyest city in England at eight percent – only one tree per person.

OVO Energy revealed the findings as it encourages Britons to sign an online petition calling for the Government to set a legally binding tree planting target to help combat climate change.

The green energy supplier, which plants one carbon-fighting tree for each member every year, started the petition in the hope it reaches 10,000 signatures by May 13, forcing the UK Government to respond.

Alongside the petition, OVO Energy and its tree-planting partners, The Conservation Volunteers and Woodland Trust have committed to planting almost 1 million more trees in 2021 to help combat climate change, on top of the 1.9 million they have already planted.

Kate Weinberg, group sustainability director at OVO Energy said: “There is nothing more important than protecting the world we live in and trees are a huge part of that.

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“It is why they are so important to us at OVO Energy and why we plant one carbon-fighting tree for each member every year. But we need more in both rural and urban areas.

“Together, we must rally the Government to take action and set a legally binding tree planting target.”

To reach its net zero carbon emissions target, the UK needs to plant 1.5 billion more trees by 2050. This is the equivalent to an area of at least 30,000 hectares, or roughly 45,000 football pitches, every year.

Current tree-planting rates are around 13,500 hectares per year, meaning tree planting rates need to more than double to meet this goal.

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