Ten guiding principles of the Tree Charter are published today, aiming to bring trees and woods to the centre of UK society.

The 10 principles for the future of trees, woods and people, have been drawn from more than 50,000 stories submitted by members of the public. The principles reveal the role of trees in our lives, and are agreed by a coalition of more than 70 cross-sector UK organisations. These organisations are now united in calling for people across the UK to stand up for trees by signing the Tree Charter and helping to shape history.

Charter for Trees, Woods and People
Charter for Trees, Woods and People

The principles will form the foundation of the new ‘Charter for Trees, Woods and People’ to be launched in November 2017, which aims to secure a brighter future for the nation’s woods and trees, and to protect the rights of all people in the UK to access the many benefits they offer.

Whereas the historic charter was signed by King Henry III to grant rights to his subjects, the new Tree Charter will draw its strength from people power, with signatures from hundreds of thousands of people from across the UK.

The Tree Charter Principles articulate the relationship between people and trees in the UK in the 21st Century:

  1. Nature Thriving – habitats for diverse species
  2. Planting – Planting trees for the future
  3. Arts & Heritage – Celebrating the cultural impacts of trees
  4. Utility & Livelihoods – A thriving forestry sector that delivers for the UK
  5. Protection – Better protection for important trees and woods
  6. Planning – Enhancing new developments with trees
  7. Health & Wellbeing – Understanding and using the natural health benefits of trees
  8. People & Access to trees – Access to trees for everyone
  9. Coping with Threats – Addressing threats to woods and trees through good management
  10. Environment – Strengthening landscapes with woods and trees

The final Charter, to be launched on 6th November, will provide guidance and inspiration for policy, practice, innovation and enjoyment, redefining the everyday benefits that we all gain from woods and trees in our lives, for everyone, from Government to businesses, communities and individuals.

Modern UK society suffers from green blindness — we take for granted the nature, beauty, protection, air regulation, and material-producing wonder of trees and forests  — as we are lucky to be surrounded by them in our streets, parks and countryside.

“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity… and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself.”

William Blake


The Tree Charter represents a rare collective opportunity. It is a moment for us all to reflect on the importance of trees and forests, and to stand up for their future, and indeed for the future of life on Earth.

I have signed the Tree Charter and I urge everyone in the UK to do the same. You can find out more and add your name at: treecharter.uk/sign

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