16 November 2019 – the overnight press releases

  • Lib Dems announce plans to plant 60 million trees a year
  • Lib Dems: EU staff crucial to our NHS

Lib Dems announce plans to plant 60 million trees a year

Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson will plant a tree in Hampstead today (Saturday 16 November), as the party announces ambitious proposals to undertake the largest tree-planting programme in UK history. A Liberal Democrat government will plant 60 million trees every year, increasing UK forest cover by 1 million hectares by 2045.

Just 13% of the UK is currently covered by woodland, far below the European Union average of 35%. The Conservatives have woefully failed to meet their own targets for planting trees in the past year. Only 1,420 hectares of trees were planted in England in the year to March 2019, 71% short of the Conservative government’s target of 5,000 hectares for the same period.

Planting trees is one of the most viable ways of removing carbon from the atmosphere and is vital for achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. The initiative will be a key part of the Liberal Democrat party’s plans to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 and to halve emissions by 2030 compared to today.

Reforesting will have other benefits such as helping reverse our declining biodiversity, reducing air pollution and improving public spaces. It will also increase use of timber products in construction, which capture carbon and reduce construction emissions.

Jo Swinson, Liberal Democrat Leader said:

The climate emergency is destroying our natural environment and threatening our children’s futures. We will tackle the climate emergency by taking bold action to rapidly reduce carbon emissions as quickly as possible, and achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045.

Our plan includes the largest tree-planting programme in UK history, which will green our towns and countryside to absorb damaging emissions. This will help us reach net-zero emissions, and will nurture biodiversity, combat air pollution and improve public spaces.

It’s clear that the Conservative Party doesn’t take climate change seriously. Only the Liberal Democrats have a radical plan to make a real impact in the fight against climate change and build a brighter future for our planet.

Lib Dems: EU staff crucial to our NHS

Responding to Labour party analysis that NHS staff are working one million hours of unpaid overtime each week, Luciana Berger, Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Social Care said:

A key reason NHS staff are working overtime is because of the serious shortages in the number of doctors and nurses working in the NHS. Part of that shortage is due to the net loss of 5,000 EU nurses in the last two years alone.

Only yesterday, Labour failed yet again to confirm their position on freedom of movement. With the NHS reliant on 10,000 EU doctors and 20,000 EU nurses, Labour’s support for Brexit is baffling as it will be so damaging for our NHS and hardworking staff.

In the past week we have learnt about the Conservative plan to impose a Nurse Tax on any new EU health professional coming to treat NHS patients. The stakes could not be higher. Labour and the Conservatives must stop being so irresponsible with our NHS.

The Liberal Democrats will stop Brexit to protect our NHS. We will build a brighter future by investing an extra £35 billion in our NHS by adding a penny on income tax. In addition we will implement a national recruitment strategy to ensure we never again suffer shortages of nurses, doctors and other health professionals.

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  • Richard Underhill. 16th Nov '19 - 11:04am

    It is important to say which trees.
    If long life is wanted plant https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sequoia_sempervirens
    They do grow well in the UK. Some of them are more than 150 years old. I have four.
    In ‘Travels with Charley’ John Steinbeck introduced his dog to a giant tree, but the dog did not know what to do, so Steinbeck leant a stick against the tree and the dog did what dogs do.
    Bush fires occur naturally, for instance from lightening strikes. Seedlings are stimulated by the smoke and are fast growing. Mature trees withstand the fires. Many have lived for over 1,000 years.
    Simon Reeves’ current series on tv explains that they grow faster as they get bigger and thereby capture more carbon. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt11097964/
    I read a biography of the Forestry Commission, which explains some of the politics, funding during the depression, buying land from heavily mortgaged farmers in Wales to replace the pit-props used in World War One in case another such war occurred. It did not, the military had greater mobility. German trees were logged during the Allied occupation, etc.
    They have a tree which can be planted in windy areas in the north of Scotland. Initially it grows horizontalis. After surviving for several years it decides it is securely rooted and continues its growth vertically. This slow growth is not commercial, but windbreaks can be created if the young trees are protected from grazing animals.

  • I remember trees being a big issue in the last GE – magic money trees on that occasion!

  • Richard Underhill. 16th Nov '19 - 5:47pm

    Among my relatives in the Seattle area are a builder who refuses to quote until the proposed site has been cleared of tree stumps and an old lady who has a tree stump in her garden on which a copse of birch are growing. The prevailing wind is from the Pacific ocean and therefore moist.
    https://greenlibdems.org.uk/en/article/2019/1336448/lib-dems-announce-plans-to-plant-60-million-trees-a-year EVERY YEAR.

  • Richard Underhill. 16th Nov '19 - 5:58pm

    I am not a member of the Green Party, but listen to Caroline Lucas with great respect.
    She was elected as an MEP under party-list PR in the south-east of England.
    She always says what she thinks about the current electoral system for the Commons.
    She was on BBC Radio 4 Question Time on 16/11/19 commenting on flooding.

  • Richard Underhill. 16th Nov '19 - 6:19pm

    David Blake
    Michael Heseltine voted Liberal Democrat in the euro elections in May 2019.
    He/they has/have a variety of trees in an arboretum, which hopefully will be conserved.

  • Richard Underhill. 17th Nov '19 - 9:41am
  • Richard Underhill. 17th Nov '19 - 10:57am

    Decades ago fibreglass started to be used for communications by both BT and by numerous US-financed companies which have since merged in the UK. An environmental consultant spoke to a seminar about the damage being done to street trees by the methods used and explained how this could be avoided and prevented using different methods.
    He also said that he would ask companies selling goods derived from tropical hardwoods about their sources and about his frustration when they replied ‘by return of post’ which he was disinclined to believe.
    Surrey county councillor and Mole Valley candidate Susan Thomas was among the audience.

  • @Richard Underhill. It is important to say which trees.
    Definitely, however what is more important is not so much as to plant trees but to create new woodlands and protect ancient woodlands, by planting (UK) native trees. Ie. what the Woodland Trust are doing.
    [Although in Scotland, it was been discovered that simply enclosing areas to prevent the deer from entering has been sufficient to enable the natural growth of self planted tree seeds.]

  • Richard Underhill 21st Nov '19 - 11:39pm

    “Jo Swinson will plant a tree in Hampstead today (Saturday 16 November)”
    What kind of tree was planted? There is a north-south issue here. Who will water it?
    The southeast of England had a drought this year, although recent headlines are about floods. There is a huge lake in the northeast, but there is not a nationwide water grid to distribute the water to where it is needed.
    Roland 18th Nov ’19 – 10:46pm
    Monocultures of any kind carry a risk of pests and/or diseases, as with elms and recently ash. Even a rise of one or two degrees centigrade in the ambient temperature increases the likelihood that “native” trees will not grow or will not survive.
    Steve Russell 16th Nov ’19 – 11:52am “UK has 3.19 hectares of woodland”
    ?Typo? Must be much more than that.

  • Richard Underhill 26th Nov '19 - 9:31am

    Michael Heseltine has said that Tories should vote for Independent Conservatives or for Liberal Democrats.
    In the euro-elections in 2019 Lord Heseltine voted Lib Dem.

  • Richard Underhill 2nd Dec '19 - 2:52pm

    It is important to say which trees.
    Eucalyptus can provide cuttings for ladies who do flower arranging, but grow so fast that the potential cuttings are soon out of reach from the ground. Ever’green’ or ever’blue’ they can be used for screening off neighbouring eyesores in the UK.
    Arguably unwise planted in Spain for making paper.

  • Richard Underhill 31st Jan '20 - 12:01pm

    Monty Don’s series about gardens in America includes an item about Sequoia in a place he has wanted to visit all his life. He mentions a businessman who cut down lots of trees and in later life changed his mind and set up a charitable reserve. Withstands fire. Worth a look.
    BBC TV currently has Winterwatch in the Cairngorms (north Scotland, mountainous).
    Sequoia sempervirens provide a habitat for treecreepers, small birds which hide in the bark. It is not essential to the birds that the trees are categorized as “native”.

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