The Royal Forestry Society has submitted written evidence to the EFRA committee Tree Planting and Woodland inquiry.
It has outlined eight key points it believes are essential if ambitious woodland creation targets are to be achieved:
· Government woodland creation targets are achievable but there is a large gap between ambition and action. This will not happen quickly so targets must be calibrated accordingly.
· Government ambition in England must be matched with the scale of funding required to drive a step change in the rate of woodland creation and management.
· Institutional and bureaucratic barriers to woodland creation must be removed.
· The UK Forestry Standard (UKFS) should be the common basis on which forestry policy and practice is developed and delivered. We are currently falling short of this standard.
· Climate change mitigation and adaptation should be at the heart of forestry policy as the most effective way to draw together multiple environmental and economic benefits of trees and woods.
· A big effort to build knowledge and skills through education and training at all levels, is a pre-requisite for success. This effort is currently chronically underfunded.
· A stronger focus on improving the condition of existing broadleaf woodland is vital for their resilience to pests, disease and climate change. This requires funding.
· Evidence suggests cooperation between devolved administrations is not a major cause for concern but a GB-wide framework for biosecurity policy which respects country specifics is required as a matter of priority post Brexit.
Read its evidence in full here.