Home nations failing to hit woodland planting targets

The current rate of tree planting in the UK is well below what is needed to meet government targets, the Woodland Trust has said.


Figures published by the Forestry Commission this week show that just 3,300 hectares of new woodland was planted in England in 2013-14 planting season – well short of the target of 5,000ha a year set out in the Government's Forestry Policy Statement.

In Scotland, 8,300ha was planted, some way off the 10-15,000ha target set by the Scottish Government in its aim to create 100,000ha of woodland by 2022.

In Wales and Northern Ireland, the figures were 900ha and 300ha respectively - again, well short of official targets.

The Woodland Trust has attacked the Government's reliance on private investment to take over from public funding of woodland creation.

Its director of conservation Austin Brady said: "Central grants will fund a maximum of just 2,000 hectares in the 2015/16 planting season, leaving the private sector to fund an additional 3,000 hectares, for which there is no historical precedent."

He added: "There is a lack of transparency about what these figures actually mean. Woodland losses are barely referred to in the statistics, and are not being recorded adequately, making their interpretation in terms of overall woodland cover impossible."

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