CAMPAIGNERS from Worcestershire Wildlife Trust (WWT) are supporting calls for a new royal charter to protect woodlands, trees and people's access to nature across the country.

The Woodland Trust has launched the national campaign for the introduction of a UK charter for trees, woods and people, and WWT is backing the plan.

It is proposed the charter would be launched during the 800th anniversary of the original Charter of the Forest that protected people's right to access the Royal Forests.

Research for the Woodland Trust by Europe Economics found woods and trees deliver £270 billion worth of benefits to the UK, from business and recreation opportunities to flood management, boosting health, carbon storage, wildlife protection and aesthetic value.

Campaigners say there is a need for the new charter as the UK's woodlands and trees face "unprecedented pressures" from development, diseases and pests, and climate change.

Wendy Carter, from WWT, said: "We’re delighted to be a partner organisation in this UK charter.

"It’s great to see a joined-up approach to protecting the habitats and wildlife that are important to us all.

“Only around eight per cent of Worcestershire is wooded. Our bigger woodlands, often nature reserves, are important for rare species like dormice, Bechstein’s bats and butterflies like pearl-bordered fritillaries but smaller copses and trees in gardens and green spaces offer food and shelter for more common wildlife and provide green lungs for us.

“We already have more than 350 volunteers helping us to look after our woodland nature reserves and, as the charter gathers momentum, it’ll be great to see more people across the county looking out for trees and woodlands near them.”

The Woodland's Trust's chief executive Beccy Speight added: "Our collective ambition is for a charter that puts trees back at the heart of our lives, communities and decision making - where they belong."