Landowner lobby backs upland tree planting

The Country Land & Business Association (CLA) has spoken in favour of upland tree planting to combat flood risk.

In its written submission to the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs Committee future flood prevention inquiry, it said: "Measures such as tree and woodland planting and allowing the natural regeneration of scrub and trees have shown considerable success. These could be deployed more widely, if we change our approach to what we value in the uplands and how we manage them, especially how we implement the Common Agricultural Policy."

But in oral evidence to the committee on 27 April, CLA president Ross Murray said: "The evidence of failure is in the tree-planting statistics. There were 10,000ha in Britain planted last year. It is just not enough. There is no adequate incentive on the upland landowner to plant trees and we all know that is part of the solution."

The inquiry runs until summer and the committee is expected to report later this year. Meanwhile, a parliamentary petition calling for the Government to "make planting trees a priority to reduce flooding" has reached 30,000 signatures on its way to a target of 100,000, which would prompt a debate in Parliament.

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