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Stansted Airport campaigners renew tree-planting initiative

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Stansted Airport Watch (SAW) volunteers were digging for victory at the weekend, planting new trees in the group's wood near Broxted Hill.

The team was taking up a challenge from COP26, the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, to stop global deforestation by 2030 and replenish the world's tree cover.

The wood was first established in 2004 on the site then proposed for a second runway. Terry Waite, the former Church of England envoy who was kidnapped by Shi'ite Muslims in Lebanon and held captive for more than four years, planted the first tree. Another 500 have since been planted, including maple, oak, hornbeam, hazel, hawthorn, blackthorn, beech and ash.

SAW volunteers ready to Dig for Victory (52946161)
SAW volunteers ready to Dig for Victory (52946161)

As well as increasing the size of the wood, SAW is calling on its 7,500 members and registered online supporters to support its tree-planting initiative and to 'Dig for Victory' by planting a tree in their garden or allotment to help win the war against climate change.

The original Dig for Victory campaign was set up by the UK Government during the Second World War to encourage families to help the war effort and grow food to supplement rationing.

SAW, formerly known as Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE), said the current climate emergency required the same rallying call.

Mike Young, the group's adviser on climate change issues, said: "You don't need to be a tree-hugger to help combat climate change.

"Trees can make a difference, and if you have a garden, you can hopefully find room for at least one extra tree, whether it be large or small. Even a small tree in a pot can make a difference. That's surely not too much to ask to help protect the future of your children and your children's children."

SAW, which says UK aviation was responsible for 38.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2019, said the global climate emergency would not be solved by governments alone.

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