Local MP Chris Skidmore has joined 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 MP for Kingswood joined the leader of South Gloucestershire Council Toby Savage at Warmley Forest Park at the beginning of November to plant the saplings he had received as part of the project. The trees– two silver birch, two rowan, and a hazel – were kindly donated to the local MP thanks to a partnership between the Woodland Trust, Sainsbury’s and ITV.
As part of the initiative, a landmark documentary was screened in April, 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, including Chris Skidmore.
Chris Skidmore said: “The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy is a fantastic initiative which highlights the importance of woodland preservation, and I am delighted to be one of 508 MPs who took part in this great project. I am proud our local area and Constituency of Kingswood will now be linked to this amazing network of forest conservation initiatives spanning the whole of the Commonwealth”.
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 Kingswood 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.”