New All-Party group will seek parliamentary support for ancient woodland protection

Conservative MP Rebecca Pow (Taunton Deane) was elected chair of the newly-formed All-Party Parliamentary Group on Ancient Woodland and Veteran Trees at its inaugural meeting in parliament last week.


Other elected officers are:

  • Vice-chairs: Cheryl Gillan MP (Con, Chesham and Amersham) and Michael Fabricant MP (Con, Lichfield);
  • Secretary: Mark Spencer (Con, Sherwood; parliamentary private secretary to Defra secretary Liz Truss);
  • Treasurer: Liz Saville Roberts (Plaid Cymru, Dwyfor Meirionnydd);
  • Officer: Huw Irranca-Davies, (Lab, Ogmore; chair of the Environmental Audit Select Committee).

As a first step towards protection, the group agreed to send a letter to Defra seeking reinstatement on Natural England's website of Standing Advice on ancient woodland.

Pow, a former rural affairs journalist and NFU employee newly elected to the Commons in May, said: "We hope this new group will do important work over the course of this parliament to raise the profile of ancient woodland and veteran trees and make positive steps to ensure these are better protected."

James Cooper, head of government affairs at the Woodland Trust which helped establish the group, said: "Increasingly, decision-makers are acknowledging the value of ancient woodland, yet more ancient woods are under threat from development than ever before.

"This precious habitat is not sufficiently protected in the law and we hope this new, cross-party group will help lead to better recognition and protection of these irreplaceable woods and trees before it's too late."

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