East Leeds MP Richard Burgon has been planting trees in Primrose Valley Local Nature Reserve as part of a forest conservation initiative.
He joined more than 500 other MPs in supporting the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy, a network of conservation projects marking Her Majesty’s lifetime of service to the Commonwealth.
The two silver birch, two rowan, and a hazel tree were planted in the reserve last week.
They were donated to Richard thanks to a partnership between the Woodland Trust, Sainsbury’s and ITV, which produced a landmark documentary, The Queen’s Green Planet. The documentary followed Her Majesty the Queen and this ambitious legacy project which brings together her commitment to the Commonwealth and her little-known love of trees.
At the heart of the film, which was screened in April, 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, while Frank Field MP, who conceived the QCC initiative, also offered a special commemorative pack to every MP in the UK.
Mr Burgon said: “I am delighted to take part in this initiative by planting trees in the Primrose Valley Nature Reserve which leaves a wonderful legacy for residents and other visitors to the area.”
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 the Leeds East constituency 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.”