Urban focus takes centre stage as woodland trust reveals tree of the year candidates - Woodland Trust

An oak that survived a wartime bomb, the tree that shaded Queen Elizabeth I on summer picnics and one of the UK’s most famous elms are all in the running to be crowned Tree of the Year in the latest round of the competition organised by the Woodland Trust.

This year’s contest shines a spotlight on ancient trees in urban locations, with every shortlisted specimen able to be visited free of charge by the public.

“Ancient trees in towns and cities are vital for the health of nature, people and planet,” said Naomi Tilley, lead campaigner at the Woodland Trust.

“They give thousands of urban wildlife species essential life support, boost the UK’s biodiversity and bring countless health and wellbeing benefits to communities. But most ancient trees aren’t protected by law, and those in urban areas are particularly vulnerable, like one of this year’s nominees – which narrowly escaped being cut down by Sheffield City Council in 2017.”

The Woodland Trust’s panel of tree experts has shortlisted 12 fascinating urban contenders from across the UK for Tree of the Year 2023 – with one additional tree voted for by the public.

“Trees like those in the shortlist are remarkable and deserve celebration – and protection,” Tilley added. “YouGov polling shows 83% of people in Great Britain support giving ancient trees legally protected heritage status. What’s more, 85% of people think national government and its agencies should have responsibility for protecting them. The stats show just how much these trees mean to people.”
This year's contenders are located in city parks, busy town centres and residential streets.

Each one has an amazing story to tell and is loved by locals, as well as providing vital habitats for wildlife, helping to reduce flooding, screening out noise, providing shade, filtering air pollution, increasing property values and bringing cultural capital to our streets and parks.

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Posted On: 17/08/2023

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