AT the end of May the M62 was an eye opener. There were miles of trees lining the embankment tops and they were in startlingly good health, many of them young and all growing higher, with robustly shining leaves.

The occasional gaps, with just field fences, were a stark reminder of a missed opportunity and all they needed was for local farmers and communities to plant saplings and leave them to it.

It was obvious that without us all the lowland areas would still be extensive forests if allowed to get on with it, as could be the local moors, such as Ilkley and Baildon, just as they were in the past before we cleared them, for sheep and grouse. In addition there would be less flooding.

Trees give shelter, nesting sites for birds, homes for squirrels and the like, as well as providing the major benefit of wood for furniture, doors and, before the onset of plastic, window frames. They are our staircases, our floorboards, our roof timbers, and quite often our sheds and garages.

Left alone, and protected from the elements, timber lasts, and lasts, like much of the century old examples in my house. My stairs have been trapping carbon since 1911. A newly planted tree will take in about 22 kilos of carbon a year, making close to a tonne by its 40th birthday.

If this tree was unfortunately burned the tonne of carbon would produce over three and a half tonnes of CO2, the amount that each of us is responsible for in five months of modern living, so we need fewer wood fires in our houses and on our hillsides. Wood should not be burned, even on November 5.

We must support more tree planting, in our gardens, parks, and on road side verges, as well as the reforesting of the local moors.

Councils, please take note.