IT’S tree time yet again because they’re so important, and the key to preventing excessive heating due to climate change.

Every time we look at a tree not only should we appreciate its shade, leaf shape, fruit, and overall appearance but we must remind ourselves that it’s a carbon store house, and every tree helps reduce the amount of CO2, at least a tonne by the time it’s 40.

Because trees are vertical carbon containers we can’t have too many to help balance the thoughtless generation of CO2 with our cars and flying which makes the current UK tree cover a serious concern.

At 13 per cent it’s well short of the EU average of 35 while England is barely 10 per cent and hardly increasing. Last year more timber was felled than planted, often by developers removing trees without check, and in 2017 the planting rate was the lowest for 40 years.

To meet the English target of 12 per cent tree cover by 2060 we should be planting at least 5,000 hectares (ha) (12,500 acres) every year but in 2016 only 582 ha, just a tenth, took root. It was even worse in 2017 when the 887,000 new trees could have been planted by just three people.

There is grand government talk about creating a North of England Forest over the next 25 years, some 50 million trees, but there’s little confidence that it’ll happen. This is in contrast to Scotland, on the way to plant 15,000 ha annually by 2025, and another particularly beneficial development in France.

There agro-forestry is rapidly spreading with up to 50 forest and fruit trees per hectare planted amongst the food crops producing higher yields of both than if separated, and also reducing the risk of flooding.

Closer to home the Forest of Bradford group has shown the way and the rest of the country would do well to copy our remarkable local initiative, volunteer led with some council support. They will have planted 675,000 trees since 1998, and recently 120 people planted 2,000 trees in one hour.