Pendle MP joins more than 500 MPs to plant trees as part of the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy

Andrew Stephenson MP is joining over 500 other MPs to plant trees as part of the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy, a network of forest conservation initiatives to mark Her Majesty's lifetime of service to the Commonwealth.

The trees – two silver birch, two rowan, and a hazel – will be planted in Pendle in November.

They were donated to Andrew Stephenson thanks to a partnership between the Woodland Trust, Sainsbury’s and ITV, which in April screened a landmark documentary, The Queen's Green Planet, following Her Majesty the Queen and this ambitious legacy project which brings together her deeply held commitment to the Commonwealth and her little-known love of trees. 

At the heart of the film was a conversation between the Queen and Sir David Attenborough filmed in the gardens of Buckingham Palace last summer.  In a rare opportunity to see the Queen talking informally to Sir David, the conversation ranged from climate change, to conkers and of course trees, and was watched by 6.4 million viewers, making it ITV’s most watched factual programme of the year.

In support of the programme the Woodland Trust provided 50,000 trees for ITV viewers, and via the Rt Hon Frank Field MP, who conceived the QCC initiative, also offered a special commemorative pack to every MP in the UK.

Andrew Stephenson MP, one of 508 MPs who took up the offer, said: “I am delighted to be planting trees in cooperation with the Woodland Trust. Pendle is a beautiful place with plenty of woodland but it is important we continue to protect and improve our environment by planting more.  These five saplings will help contribute towards the government’s target of 11 million trees planted across in England by 2020. We are also seeing £5 million invested by the Government to create a Northern Forest between Liverpool and Hull.”

Woodland Trust Chief Executive Beccy Speight said: “We are delighted so many MPs have decided to join us in our bid to plant trees as part of the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy.  We all need trees. They are a cornerstone of our landscape and countryside, forming an essential and cherished part of our cultural identity. They are crucial in improving soil health and water quality, reducing carbon, trapping pollutants, slowing the flow of flood water, sheltering livestock, providing a home for wildlife or a space for us to breathe. I hope the residents of Pendle will enjoy watching them flourish as part of this wonderful legacy initiative.”

Sainsbury’s CEO Mike Coupe said: “As the Woodland Trust’s largest corporate partner, we’re committed to raising awareness of the importance of the UK’s woods and trees, and contributing to their conservation.

“I was lucky enough to grow up surrounded by woods, so trees have a particular resonance with me. Sainsbury’s recently planted its three millionth tree with the Trust, and the thought of being able to get so many more in the ground as part of the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy with the support of so many MPs is an exciting prospect.”