Doctors have called on ministers to plant more trees near homes and schools in a bid to ease pressure on the NHS and improve the nation’s health.

The Woodland Trust said GPs support its campaign to increase native tree cover in the UK and prioritise the environment ahead of a general election.

A survey of 255 family doctors found three quarters (74 per cent) thought planting more trees and creating a more healthy natural environment for people could help reduce the financial burden on the NHS.

The Woodland Trust said GPs support its campaign to increase native tree cover in the UK and prioritise the environment ahead of a general election

The Woodland Trust said GPs support its campaign to increase native tree cover in the UK and prioritise the environment ahead of a general election

And around the same number (77 per cent) backed bringing in prescribing time out in nature to help with health conditions and mental health issues.

Some 94 per cent of those polled thought that planting hedges around urban schools to soak up pollution was needed to improve children’s health and tackle conditions such as asthma.

Furthermore, in the run-up to the general election, 96 per cent thought policymakers should make the environment a priority.

Dr Darren Moorcroft, chief executive of the Woodland Trust, said politicians should heed the results.

‘A startling 96 per cent of GPs – who are on the frontline of healthcare in this country – want environmental issues moved up the political agenda,’ he said.

‘They recognise the potentially life-giving benefits of a cleaner, greener world, ever more important due to the greater effects of climate change – and want their patients to be able to access those benefits more easily.’

He added: ‘Woods and trees make us healthy and happy. 

‘They lock up carbon, fight the effects of climate change, improve our health and wellbeing and reduce pollution and flooding, protecting nature, people and our planet.

‘This is why we are asking for people to support our climate campaign to plant more trees.’

Dr David Wrigley, deputy chair of the British Medical Association’s GP committee England, said: ‘Our health and the environment are entwined in almost every way, and the potential benefits of more green spaces from both a mental and physical wellbeing perspective are yet to be realised.

‘It’s important that we ensure more people have equal access to these spaces and that we do everything we can to protect the future of our planet and its people.’

Climate Change & Global WarmingNHS

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