YOUNG people's climate anxiety is soaring due to lacking access to green spaces says The Woodland Trust, as Northumberland has lower than average tree coverage.

Analysis conducted on behalf of climate charity Friends of the Earth by mapping experts Terra Sulis shows just 12 per cent of Northumberland is covered by trees.

The news comes as the UK's largest woodland conservation charity The Woodland Trust said young people's climate anxiety is soaring due to a lack of access to green spaces.

One in three young British people are scared, sad or pessimistic about climate change, with 28 per cent feeling “overwhelmed”, according to a YouGov poll conducted in February 2023.

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Almost one in four said they decided to have fewer children than they would otherwise due to their concerns.

Research showed although seven out of 10 worry about climate change effects, 86 per cent felt being outdoors had a positive effect on their mental health.

The Woodland Trust launched its ‘Plant More Trees’ campaign, aiming to plant 50 million more trees UK-wide by 2030.

Woodland Trust chief executive Dr Darren Moorcroft said: "Young people are experiencing an epidemic of climate anxiety and are increasingly worried about the health of the planet. This new data shows that climate change is jeopardising more than just the environment, with people’s mental well-being and future life plans also affected."

The Government's current goal is to increase tree coverage to 16.5 per cent by 2050. Friends of the Earth said this is "inadequately low", and argued double the current figure would be more reasonable.


Mike Childs, head of science, policy and research at Friends of the Earth, said: "The Government should be aiming to double tree cover in England by 2050 to ensure that people, no matter where they live or what their income, can experience the mental and physical health benefits that trees bring.

"Current targets for tree planting are woefully inadequate and overlook the devastating impact that timber and wood imports from countries such as Brazil, China and Russia wreak on nature globally.

"We need many more trees for farming, urban cooling and absorbing harmful carbon emissions. The Government must get behind a far more ambitious plan to boost tree numbers and adopt this as an official target."

The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs said the Government is committed to trebling average tree planting rates, boosting the number of trees close to where people live and in nature-deprived parts of the country.