Major cities have more forest cover than some of England’s national parks, according to recent research conducted by Friends of the Earth.
Today, the overall woodland cover across all national parks in England is less than 15%.
According to Friends of the Earth, some major national parks even have lower woodland cover than major cities, for example, woodland cover in the Yorkshire Dales is just 4.1% compared to London at 4.5%.
Similarly, woodland cover in the Peak District is 8.4%, compared to Leeds at 9.8%.
According to the organisation, the overall woodland cover could be more than doubled to 34% without damaging other important habitats.
In addition to the lack of woodland cover, data obtained from Natural England has also revealed that just 26% of protected habitats (such as peatlands) within the national parks are in a healthy state.
When in a healthy state, peatlands act as carbon sinks and are therefore essential to the fight against the climate crisis.
Friends of the Earth campaigner, Danny Gross, said: ‘England’s national parks have not risen to the challenge of the climate and nature crisis. This isn’t even listed in their core purposes set out by the government.
‘National parks cover roughly a tenth of England’s land and offer enormous opportunities for natural climate solutions, such as woodland creation and peatland restoration, which would also go a long way to support new wildlife.
‘We have a chance to make England’s national parks trailblazers for natural climate solutions such as woodland and other precious habitats. It’s time for National Park Authorities, the government and landowners to step up and work together to fight the climate crisis.’
In related news, environmental group, Cut Carbon Not Forests Coalition is urging the government to end subsidies to biomass plants.
Currently, the UK spends almost £1.5bn on subsides to biomass plants.
According to the coalition, not only do these subsidies degrade sensitive overseas forests, but they also exceed the UK’s total commitment to biodiversity support.
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