Water companies have announced plans to plant 11 million new trees in England by 2030 to help the industry’s effort to become carbon neutral.
The firms will be planting trees on around 15,000 acres of land across England, as well as supporting work to restore original woodland and improving habitats that store carbon.
Some trees will be planted on land owned by utility firms, but land for planting will also be provided by partners including local authorities, the National Trust, The Wildlife Trusts and the RSPB, industry body WaterUK said.
The scheme will include planting trees in towns and cities.
The Woodland Trust has agreed to work with the water companies to identify sites and manage the planting programme once it has been developed, Water UK said.
Richard Flint, chief executive of Yorkshire Water, which is helping to co-ordinate the project, said: “As an industry, the water sector is committed to fighting climate change through becoming carbon-neutral by 2030.
“Our ambitious pledge announced today will go a long way to meeting that target, and will also deliver greater biodiversity, improved water quality and better flood protection.“
Government-appointed tree champion Sir William Worsley welcomed the pledge: "Trees are carbon sinks, provide crucial habitats for precious wildlife, mitigate flood risk and provide a valuable renewable resource in timber - and I encourage other industries to follow Water UK’s excellent example to ensure we boost planting rates across the country.“
John Tucker, director of woodland creation at The Woodland Trust, said: “Trees and woods in the right place can deliver a multitude of benefits and we urgently need a massive expansion in our tree cover if we are to adapt to future climate change.“