Rethink woodland support to overcome policy failings, Welsh committee urges

Brexit provides an opportunity to make financial support for woodland creation in Wales more appealing than support for other land uses, a new report claims.

Image: G Y Gabor (CC BY 2.0)
Image: G Y Gabor (CC BY 2.0)

Branching out: a new ambition for woodland policies, published by the Welsh Assembly's Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee, states:

"We urge the Welsh Government to incorporate long term targets for woodland cover in Wales by 2050 and 2100, and to better reflect the economic benefits of forestry. The Welsh Government must lead by example and increase afforestation on public land, and Natural Resources Wales (NRW) must be more proactive in seizing opportunities for woodland creation on such land."

It also calls for the Welsh Government to "extend and better manage access to public woodlands, especially for marginalised groups", and suggested that Natural Resources Wales, which manages Wales' public woodlands, "should examine options for recovering costs from user groups for certain recreational activities in the woodlands it manages".

The Royal Forestry Society said it broadly welcomed the report, but expressed disappointment that there was no commitment to funding research into building greater resilience into woodlands.

Chief executive Simon Lloyd added: "Existing woodlands are an important resource and bringing them back into management must be central to the Welsh government's woodland strategy."

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