SIR - Congratulations to Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust (YDMT) for tackling the subject of plastic tree guards on BBC Radio 4’s Farming Today (Craven Diary, January 9).

If we are serious about reducing carbon emissions and use of fossil fuels, one easy way to do so is to stop using tubes of petroleum (Polypropylene) to temporarily protect new trees. Friends of the Dales have been running a campaign against the use of plastic tree guards in the national park since the summer of 2019. We’ve conducted three “litter picks” and collected around 1000 guards, the vast majority of which are to be reused by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and Skipton Town Council. In fact, given most guards can be reused and there are about 1 million ready to be reused in the Dales, no one need ever buy a new plastic tree guard again.

As the pressure to plant trees grows and massive projects for the next decade loom, it is not enough to voice concern over plastic tree guards and to do a bit of tidying up in the countryside. Organizations cannot seek to go zero net carbon and simultaneously use plastic tree guards on millions of trees, which is the equivalent of using the landscape as a tip for billions of crisp packets and plastic drinks bottles.

Before we dump more Polypropylene into our precious landscapes now’s the time to kick the habit. If we continue to plant and pollute with plastic, in a decade’s time we shall be asked: what part of (climate and environmental) emergency did you not understand?

Bruce McLeod

Chairman, Friends of the Dales