John Whittingdale joined over 500 other MPs to plant trees as part of the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy, a network of forest conservation initiatives to mark Her Majesty's lifetime of service to the Commonwealth.

The trees were planted in Riverside Park, Burnham-on-Crouch on Friday 9 November by John Whittingdale, Cllr Henry Bass, Chairman of Maldon District Council, Cllr Bob Boyce, Chairman of Community Services and Cllr Ron Pratt and Nick Sandford, Regional External Affairs Officer, the Woodland Trust

They were donated to John Whittingdale thanks to a partnership between the Woodland Trust, Sainsbury’s and ITV, which in April screened a landmark documentary, The Queen's Green Planet, following Her Majesty the Queen and this ambitious legacy project which brings together her deeply held commitment to the Commonwealth and her little-known love of trees. At the heart of the film was a conversation between the Queen and Sir David Attenborough filmed in the gardens of Buckingham Palace last summer.  In a rare opportunity to see the Queen talking informally to Sir David, the conversation ranged from climate change, to conkers and of course trees, and was watched by 6.4 million viewers, making it ITV’s most watched factual programme of the year.

In support of the programme the Woodland Trust provided 50,000 trees for ITV viewers, and via the Rt. Hon Frank Field MP, who conceived the QCC initiative, also offered a special commemorative pack to every MP in the UK. 

John Whittingdale said:

“I am delighted that the Maldon District will be helping to provide the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy through these trees which I shall look forward to seeing grow in Riverside Park. This is an excellent project and I am grateful to Her Majesty, the Woodland Trust, and to Maldon District Council for their help”

Woodland Trust Chief Executive Beccy Speight said:

“We are delighted so many MPs have decided to join us in our bid to plant trees as part of the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy.  We all need trees. They are a cornerstone of our landscape and countryside, forming an essential and cherished part of our cultural identity. They are crucial in improving soil health and water quality, reducing carbon, trapping pollutants, slowing the flow of flood water, sheltering livestock, providing a home for wildlife or a space for us to breathe. I hope the residents of the Maldon District will enjoy watching them flourish as part of this wonderful legacy initiative.”