Telegraph suggests Welsh Government’s national tree giveaway program causing ‘harmful pollen’
The Telegraph newspaper has suggested that the Welsh Government’s national tree planting program is releasing “potentially harmful pollen,” leading alongside similar schemes to a rise in the number of sufferers of hay fever this spring.
A national project to give every household in Wales a free tree began handing out saplings in February.
The Telegraph however cited experts who said that planting “planting inexpensive, fast-growing trees” was “exposing children and adults to high levels of potentially harmful pollen”.
The newspaper noted that spring is the peak tree-planting period, with local government initiatives encouraging people to plant as many as possible.
“Meanwhile, the Welsh Government has pledged to give a tree to every household as part of its fight against the climate emergency,” they said.
“Although many of the trees offered through such schemes look attractive and have a minimal leaf fall, their pollen has been linked to increases in the numbers presenting with asthma, hay fever and respiratory problems.
“But, experts warn, by planting inexpensive, fast-growing trees – such as the silver birch – we are exposing children and adults to high levels of potentially harmful pollen.”
Deputy Climate Change Minister Lee Waters announced in December that every household in Wales would be offered a free tree as part of a Welsh Government project to fight climate change.
Welsh Government has teamed up with Coed Cadw, the Woodland Trust in Wales, to deliver the project, which will see 5,000 trees released to local households as part of a pilot scheme from five regional hubs in Llanrwst, Wrexham, Machynlleth, Swansea and Cwmbran.
In autumn, and to coincide with the next tree planting season, the scheme will be extended to 25 regional hubs across Wales where 200,000 will be available to collect.
At the launch, Lee Waters said: “It is great to be here to see the start of this project that will make a real difference in our commitment to reach net zero by 2050.
“We are in a climate and nature emergency and Wales is particularly vulnerable to increased flooding and coastal erosion as our weather changes, in order to become a Net Zero Wales by 2050 and strengthen our natural flood defences, we must plant 86 million trees over the next decade.
“It’s great to speak to families today and it is already clear to see that this project will help people further understand and experience the many benefits that trees can provide, not only to the environment but also to health and wellbeing.
“I would like to thank all involved at Coed Cadw for partnering with us to deliver this project and I look forward to seeing it extended later in the year.”
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