Defra seeks views on England Tree Strategy

22nd June 2020


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Kieran Devine

The UK government has launched a consultation on how to improve woodland management and boost tree planting through the creation of a new England Tree Strategy.

Farmers, foresters, land managers, environmental organisations, and members of the public are all invited to give their views on the future creation and management of trees, woodlands and forests.

The England Tree Strategy intends to set out policies to expand tree cover, support woodland management and increase public engagement with trees and woodlands.

Moreover, the government hopes the strategy will help it deliver on its commitment to increase tree planting to 30,000 hectares per year across the UK by 2025.

The consultation is set to close on 11 September 2020, however, this will be kept under review in light of the coronavirus outbreak.

Forestry minister Lord Goldsmith said: “In many ways the coronavirus pandemic has shone a light on the importance of nature. Growing and protecting our nation's forests will be an integral part of our recovery, and the England Tree Strategy will give us the tools to do this.

“But we need input from the sector and public. I encourage everyone to give their views to design a tree strategy that delivers the maximum benefits for our environment for generations to come.“

The England Tree Strategy will help inform elements of the government's £640m Nature for Climate Fund, and will be developed in parallel with other key strategies that flow from the 25 Year Environment Plan.

These include the recent Tree Health Resilience Strategy and the forthcoming England Peat Strategy and Nature Strategy, as well the future Environmental Land Management Scheme, which will operate on the basis of providing public payments for public goods.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is asking for views on:

  • How to expand, protect and improve public and private trees and woodlands
  • The increased role that trees and woodlands can play in supporting the economy
  • How best to further connect people to nature
  • The most effective way in which trees and woodlands can be created and managed to help combat climate change.

Forestry Commission chair Sir William Worsley said: “We need people to submit their views, to design a strategy that increases and balances the different benefits that our woodlands provide, to nature, to people, and to the economy.

“The Forestry Commission will be at the forefront of delivery and I look forward to working closely with Defra and all stakeholders involved at this exciting time.“

The England Tree Strategy will be published later this year, subject to review.

Image credit: Shutterstock

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