Government slammed over tree planting plan

MPs have called for a comprehensive plan to support planting on a larger scale

MPs have warned that the government’s current tree planting plan could derail UK’s net zero transition.

The government has been told that it won’t achieve its climate goals unless it puts a thorough plan in place to support greater planting.

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee has also called on ministers to expand domestic tree production, the forestry sector workforce and to increase the amount of domestic timber used in UK building and construction sectors.

In its new Tree Planting report, the committee recommends more comprehensive annual planting targets, better finance schemes and more accurate mapping if the government is to achieve its aim of creating 30,000 hectares of new woodland every year in the UK by 2025.

The Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Neil Parish said:   “Government really must get its act together.

“As it stands, this plan does not even have annual targets for the number of hectares of new woodland to be planted in England.

“Meanwhile, the committee heard that the UK imported more than 80% of the wood it used in 2020. We should aim to meet all the UK’s planting needs from domestically grown trees.”

Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “We have stretching and ambitious targets when it comes to tree planting, and just last year we launched the England Trees Action Plan.

“We are committed to planting 30,000 hectares of new woodland every year in the UK by the end of this Parliament, backed up by over £500 million of funding.

“Last week, I announced that we will be consulting on a target to increase woodland cover and tree canopy cover outside woodlands from 14.5% to 17.5% of total land area in England by 2050.”

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