TREES absorb less than 1 per cent of the carbon dioxide emitted in Southampton every year, figures reveal.

Environmental campaigners warn that years of deforestation has left areas of the UK lacking in "one of its biggest natural allies" in the fight against climate change.

Trees absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) – the main greenhouse gas – from the air and convert it into wood and oxygen in a process known as carbon sequestration.

Data from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy reveals that woodland in Southampton sequestrated ​​1.3 tonnes of CO2 per hectare in 2017 – the latest available figures.

It means trees in the area captured an estimated 6,500 tonnes of carbon, according to that year’s land size figures from the Office for National Statistics.

Different data from the BEIS department shows Southampton emitted 772,000 tonnes of CO2 in the same year, meaning trees would have absorbed just 0.8 per cent of the carbon released into ​the air in 2017.

In February, Southampton City Council unveiled their Green City Charter's delivery plan.

City bosses are planning to increase the number of charging points for electric vehicles, plant 5,000 trees, create 25 urban meadows and reduce the number of parking spaces in the city centre during the next few years.

It comes as they have unveiled their plans to fight pollution.

Further details are yet to be finalised and it is not yet known what area of the city centre would see a reduction in parking spaces.

A spokesperson from the city council said: "The Green City Plan provides set out an ambitious vision of a cleaner, greener, healthier and more sustainable council and how it will contribute to tackling some of the most challenging environmental issues in our city."

Emi Murphy, trees campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said: “Decades of woodland destruction has left us severely lacking in one of the biggest natural allies in the fight against climate breakdown.

“Growing and maintaining more woodland is a key part of tackling the climate and nature emergency. At the moment the Government stands to miss even its own meagre manifesto commitment on trees. The upcoming English Tree Strategy is a big opportunity to turn this around.

“There’s only so much carbon that trees can remove from the atmosphere so it’s really important that emissions in areas such as transport and home heating are rapidly cut too.”