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Plans to accelerate tree planting and improve the management of our existing trees and woodlands are underway as the government has launched a consultation which will inform a new England Tree Strategy.
- Government consults on plans to update its policy for trees, woodland and forestry through creation of a new England Tree Strategy.
- Consultation to run for 12 weeks, seeking views on how to increase tree planting and tree and woodland management.
- Trees are a unique natural asset that play a crucial role in combating the biodiversity and climate crises we face.
The government’s environmental programme will play its full part as we build back better and secure a fair, green and resilient recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
Everyone – from farmers, foresters and land managers, experts and environmental organisations, to members of the public – is being invited to give their views on the future creation and management of our trees, woodlands and forests.
Subject to consultation, the new strategy will set out policies to expand tree cover, support woodland management and increase public engagement with trees and woodlands. It will help ensure the government’s tree planting commitment – to increase tree planting to 30,000 hectares per year across the UK by 2025 – is delivered, working closely with the devolved administrations, communities and landowners to do so.
The government is asking for views on:
- how to expand, protect and improve our public and private trees and woodlands, the increased role that trees and woodlands can play in supporting the economy,
- how best to further connect people to nature, and
- the most effective way in which trees and woodlands can be created and managed to help combat climate change.
By growing, protecting and restoring our trees, forests and woodlands we can help reduce carbon emissions, encourage biodiversity and nature recovery, grow our sustainable timber market, and improve people’s health and wellbeing.
The consultation period is due to conclude in 12 weeks on 11 September 2020. Subject to review, the England Tree Strategy will be published later in the year.
Neil Hind, Chair of Pinewoods Conservation Group added:
We welcome this consultation and hope it will give some additional focus to tree planting and conservation across the Harrogate District. There has been additional planting promised via the Harrogate District Climate Change Coalition for some time but little evidence of any real progress.
Our members and supporters also know that the council has a difficult decision to make this year around the future of our Rotary Wood area. This will be a true test of Harrogate Councils commitment to protecting woodland and being serious about meeting its carbon neutral targets.
We would really encourage residents to make their views known.
Ian Fraser, Zero Carbon Harrogate Natural Climate Solutions Lead, said:
We welcome this government consultation. Right now, the Harrogate District should be looking to create 270 ha of new woodland per year, to be able to offset the 180 kilo tonnes of carbon emissions per year that we find difficult to reduce by 2050. Woodland creation and management can provide new local jobs, but our landowners need long term government support for this initiative.” Jemima Parker, Chair, Zero Carbon Harrogate
North Yorkshire has vast rural landscapes and low population density. It is therefore well placed to deliver natural climate solutions to the climate crisis, such as increasing woodland cover, which is low here. Doing this can also be an economic stimulus, creating lots of green collar jobs in the forestry management supply chain. Afforestation needs to happen at scale, at pace and without delay. The climate crisis is not a hypothetical threat — it is here, now.
Launching the consultation, Forestry Minister Lord Goldsmith, said:
In many ways the coronavirus pandemic has shone a light on the importance of nature. Growing and protecting our nation’s forests will be an integral part of our recovery, and the England Tree Strategy will give us the tools to do this.
This consultation will help inform a keystone strategy which will be vital for helping us deliver the government’s tree planting commitment, our commitment to the recovery of nature and reaching net zero emissions by 2050.
But, we need input from the sector and public. I encourage everyone to give their views to design a tree strategy that delivers the maximum benefits for our environment for generations to come.
Forestry Commission Chair and former National Tree Champion, Sir William Worsley said:
The England Tree Strategy will set out how we plan to accelerate woodland creation, but also importantly how to manage and protect the trees we already have. Significant work has gone into developing the groundwork for a strategy which will ensure the right tree is planted in the right place, and for the right reason.
We now need people to submit their views, to design a strategy that increases and balances the different benefits that our woodlands provide, to nature, to people, and to the economy.
The Forestry Commission will be at the forefront of delivery and I look forward to working closely with Defra and all stakeholders involved at this exciting time.
In the March Budget, Defra welcomed the new Nature for Climate Fund from HM Treasury. The England Tree Strategy will help inform how elements of this £640million fund will be used to deliver against the manifesto tree planting commitments, alongside peatland restoration and wider nature recovery.
The England Tree Strategy will be developed in parallel with other key strategies that flow from the 25 Year Environment Plan. These include the recent Tree Health Resilience Strategy and the forthcoming England Peat Strategy and Nature Strategy, as well the future Environmental Land Management Scheme which will operate on the basis of providing public payments for public goods.
In close alignment with the England Tree Strategy, targeted stakeholder engagement is currently underway to shape the development of the England Peat Strategy and the peatland aspects of the Nature for Climate Fund.
Integrating the aims of the England Tree Strategy with the wider ongoing work in these areas enables a coordinated vision that delivers real, sustainable change.