National Trust receives record donation

The £4m gift from HSBC UK will be used to plant two million trees as part of a plan to tackle climate change

Heelis, the National Trust's headquarters in Swindon, Wiltshire
Heelis, the National Trust's headquarters in Swindon, Wiltshire

The National Trust has received its biggest donation to date in the form of a £4m gift from HSBC UK.

The bank's multimillion-pound gift will enable the charity to plant two million trees as part of a plan to tackle climate change, attract more wildlife and protect landscapes prone to flooding.

The charity said the four-year project would create a woodland area equivalent to roughly the size of Worcester and lock in 1.25m tonnes of carbon, which is the equivalent of removing 15,000 cars from the road each year.

The charity has committed to planting or establishing 20 million trees that would cover an area the size of Birmingham as part of its plan to become carbon neutral by 2030.

As part of the initiative, woodland and carbon-rich habitats will be created in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, with additional sites in the process of being identified.

The charity said that as well as providing habitats for wildlife, the move would also offer those living in urban areas access to new, nature-rich woodland.

The gift is part of the bank’s new Climate Solutions Partnership, which aims to unlock barriers to finance for companies and projects that are tackling climate change.

The mass tree-planting projects will engage local communities and involve National Trust staff and volunteers, with HSBC employees also given the opportunity to contribute.

Hilary McGrady, director-general of the National Trust, said: “This gift represents a major step in our attempt to try to tackle the effects of climate change, and ensures we can plant the trees in the right places to really maximise the impact they will have in locking in carbon.

“This donation offers so much more than just tree-planting.

“By creating these woodlands, we hope to see further benefits by allowing the landscape to regenerate naturally and without the need for so much intervention by way of tree-planting in the future.

“Nature has a way of healing if we can just give it a chance.”

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