What we want to achieve

The Tree Council wants to see thriving and diverse treescapes across the UK for years to come. To help us get there, we are working across the sector with volunteers, schools, local authorities and partner organisations to deliver a range of innovative planting and research programmes that are having a real impact.

Volunteer Tree Wardens

We manage a national force of volunteer Tree Wardens who champion their local trees. They organise activities, fundraise, research and advise on trees and related topics. There are currently over 6000 of Tree Wardens volunteering in networks across the country. Their amazing work has led to over 8 million trees being planted, with countless more being protected and cared for. Our country is a healthier and greener place thanks them!

Young Tree Champions

Hundreds of schools have signed up to become Young Tree Champion schools, setting up their own outdoor projects supported by a range of resources such as tech kits, learning materials, speaking training and of course, trees! Working in partnership with M&G plc, we are continuing to expand this programme, bringing thousands of students closer to nature and giving them the tools and confidence they need to speak up for our planet.

Orchards for Schools

The Orchards for Schools programme offers schools free fruiting trees to plant and care for. In just two years, more than 1600 schools have planted over 33,000 trees on their grounds and we are on course to plant 100,000 trees by the end of 2022. Teachers also receive an exciting set of learning resources, designed by teachers, that are linked to the national curriculum, helping bring nature into the classroom!

wilted ash branch and leaves

Science and Research

Our Science and Research team works with government departments and agencies, local authorities, volunteer organisations, and leading researchers across the country to understand how best to protect our treescapes. We have published evidence-led toolkits to help land managers respond effectively to the devastating impact of Ash Dieback, with similar guidance being developed for Oak Processionary Moth. On behalf of Defra, we are also working with partners to undertake research regarding local tree strategies.

Hedgerows: Close the Gap

The Close the Gap programme is achieving healthier and better-connected hedgerows through planting, knowledge sharing, increasing hedgerow tree supply and public engagement. In May 2021, we ran the UK’s first ever National Hedgerow Week to celebrate their amazing contribution to our lives and environment. We are also running the community hedge fund which is supporting hedgerow planting and restoration projects around the country.

The Tree Council are chair of Hedgelink, a coalition of organisations dedicated to protecting Britain’s hedgerows.

a man and a woman planting a tree

Partnership with Network Rail

The relationship between Network Rail and The Tree Council has gone from strength to strength over the past 20 years, developing from a campaign partnership to becoming a critical friend and advisor on vegetation management. The Tree Council played a key role in the Varley Review, working closely with John Varley and Network Rail, which has led to ambitious, innovative community planting projects across the country, planting more than 90,000 trees in the first year, and we are excited to see what more we can achieve together.

You can learn more about our work with National Rail here.

branching out tree planting grants

Our Partnerships

We work to coordinate and connect organisations to persuade decision-makers, influence national policy and deliver local action around our treescape. Our aim is to bring people together in a shared mission to plant, care for and protect trees. We work with large ethical corporates and small businesses to engage their teams in tree conservation as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) commitments or Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) strategy.

Trees Outside of Woodland

We are examining tree and hedge planting and establishment through on-the-ground research, in partnership with five local authorities, Natural England and DEFRA. The findings will inform government policy and grant schemes and is already helping us understand the importance of developing outcome driven flexible grant schemes, ways of increasing value for money in urban tree planting, how community tree nurseries can increase bio-secure production, and the importance of forming trusting relationships with farmers and landowners to help them develop resilient businesses. The programme is part of HM Treasury’s £200m Shared Outcomes Fund.