The Wokingham Paper

30,000 hectares of trees planted each year


THE Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) plans to plant more than 30,000 hectares of trees each year by 2025.

The decision was made as part of the consultation on the Government Tree Strategy for England.

The CLA — whose members own or manage around half the rural land in England and Wales — has called for the Government to work with farmers and land managers to “ensure the right trees are planted in the right place”.

CLA president, Mark Bridgeman said: “We welcome the Government’s plans to plant 30,000 hectares of trees per year in the UK by 2025.

“Delivering this ambition will require a long-term plan for ramping up the whole woodland economy in England, including investment in the nursery stocks, skills and infrastructure needed to increase planting in the years ahead.

“This is a great opportunity, which should be seized as part of a sustainable economic recovery plan.

“As well as providing timber and wood products, forestry and woodlands deliver a range of public benefits depending on location and type, including locking up carbon, biodiversity, water regulation and health and well-being.

“In recent decades, the grants and incentives for woodland creation have simply not been sufficient to overcome the barriers to new planting. As a result, UK woodland creation has averaged around 10,000 hectares annually for the past 15 years, but most of this has been in Scotland.

“Only 1,400 hectares were planted in England in 2019, so it’s imperative we up our game.”

Mr Bridgeman added: “Ultimately, Government should work with farmers and land managers
to ensure the right trees are planted in the right place, while ensuring the right support is provided to develop a woodland economy that will create new markets and rural jobs and help with the green recovery post Covid-19.”

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