Jon Snow accepts forest chairman role

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But Felix Dennis’s vision of planting millions of trees over 30,000 acres of land in the vicinity of his former home at Dorsington would reverse this massive decline. “This is no rump,” he declared.

In an event at Dorsington aimed at publicising the initiative and marking Mr Snow’s agreement to become chairman of the trust, the TV presenter spoke not only of “the lung” the trees would provide for Warwickshire and its environs, but also of its educational role.

He said: “We have a very good relationship with a number of schools in this area, and in Birmingham and Coventry – bringing urban kids out to a rural environment – and there’s lots of potential. What we want is to spread the word that this exists.”

Addressing his audience – which included representatives from local businesses – Mr Snow said: “It is very exciting, and a wonderful thing to be doing, and it is great that you are associated with it.”

Mr Snow had already revealed that he will be taking part in the planting of some of the 130,000 trees the trust will plant between November and March next year.

“I’m looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and taking on this challenge and seeing at close quarters the forest grow and develop,” he said.

“We are about ten percent of the way to the target of 30,000 acres of woodland, so it’s a long old journey, but we are talking about a fantastic resource which will be around for our children, their children and many future generations.

“The UK has about 12 per cent tree cover and the rest of Europe is between 27 per cent and 36 per cent. Of the forestry cover we have, less than two percent is native broadleaf.”

He said he was now picking up the baton from Felix, who felt “very strongly” that something should be done about that. “I think people will want to identify with the project and will want to be connected to it,” he said.