Last week, the government announced it is launching a consultation to inform a new England Tree Strategy. This is to help accelerate tree planting and improve the management of existing trees and woodlands.
Subject to consultation, the new strategy will set out policies to expand tree cover, support woodland management and increase public engagement with trees and woodlands. It will help ensure the government’s tree planting commitment – to increase tree planting to 30,000ha per year across the UK by 2025 – is delivered, working closely with the devolved administrations, communities and landowners to do so.
Welcoming the announcement of the 12-week consultation period, Simon Lloyd, chief executive of forestry education charity the Royal Forestry Society (RFS), says: “This is an opportunity to deliver polices which more effectively harness the environmental, societal and economic benefits of trees and woods.
“We believe this offers a unique opportunity to address concerns that are holding landowners back from planting new woodlands, better integrate trees and woods into farmland and strengthen existing woodlands against the challenges of climate change, pests and diseases.”
A recent survey by the RFS of members showed support for increased woodland creation was tempered by underlying concerns over the financial commitments of making irreversible decisions to change land to woodland.
Simon adds: “We will be responding on behalf of RFS members who have also clearly identified some of the barriers they see to creating new woodland, and based on our own research into the benefits of bringing existing woodland into management.”
To take part in the consultation here.