Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy

Sir Mike Penning joins Gade Valley school pupils to plant trees as part of the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy.
17th January 2019

Sir Mike Penning has joining over 500 other MPs to plant trees as part of the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy - a network of forest conservation initiatives to mark Her Majesty's lifetime of service to the Commonwealth.

The trees were planted with the help of pupils from Gade Valley School in Gadebridge Park.

They were donated to Sir Mike thanks to a partnership between the Woodland Trust, Sainsbury’s and ITV, which last April screened a landmark documentary, The Queen's Green Planet. It followed Her Majesty the Queen and this ambitious legacy project which brings together her deeply held commitment to the Commonwealth and her little-known love of trees.

At the heart of the film 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, and via the Rt Hon Frank Field MP, who conceived the QCC initiative, also offered a special commemorative pack to every MP in the UK.

Sir Mike Penning MP, one of 508 MPs who took up the offer, said: “This is a great initiative and I am honoured to have been invited by The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy to plant five trees in Gadebridge Park.

“This initiative in conjunction with the Woodland Trust is an invaluable and important project to ensure that our nation’s trees are protected and maintained for the benefits of people and wildlife.”

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 Hemel Hempstead 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.”

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