The call for a Tree Charter was initiated in 2015 by the Woodland Trust in response to the crisis facing trees and woods in the UK. There was no clear, unifying statement about the rights of people in the UK to the benefits of trees, woods and forests. The UK’s trees and woods face:
- low planting rates;
- lack of legal protection;
- inconsistent management;
- declining interest in forestry and arboriculture careers;
- threats from housing and infrastructure development, pests, diseases and climate change.
Each one of these issues was being addressed in isolation by a small number of concerned organisations and tree lovers.
A new approach was needed – a rallying cry that could unite these individuals and specialist organisations, and help them speak with one voice. It was important to ensure the role of trees and woods in our lives could be visible and recognised in decision-making and practice.
The Woodland Trust reached out to all sections of UK society to define this new charter, and to build a people-powered movement for trees. More than 70 organisations and 300 local community groups answered the call and helped to collect over 60,000 tree stories from people, demonstrating the important role that trees play in their lives. These stories were read and shared, and helped to define the 10 Principles of the Tree Charter, ensuring that it stands for every tree and every person in the UK.
On 6 November 2017, on the 800th anniversary of the 1217 Charter of the Forest, the new Charter for Trees, Woods and People was launched at Lincoln Castle – home to one of the two remaining copies of the 1217 Charter of the Forest. It now rests in the Lincolnshire Archives.
The words of the final charter were crafted by author Professor Fiona Stafford and handwritten by calligrapher Patricia Lovett. The charter is set down in ink made from oak galls by artist Jo Lathwood – just as the original Charter of the Forest was before it.
To sign the charter and find out more visit : https://treecharter.uk/