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England to treble its tree planting rates

The government plans to treble its tree-planting rates, but environmental campaigners warn that it is still not enough. 

Around 2,340 hectares of trees are planted each year, but in an announcement due to be made tomorrow the government is set to increase this to 7,000 hectares annually by the end of this parliament.

The England Trees Action Plan is expected to set out how woodland cover will be increased with tree planting, the focus will be on planting native trees and encouraging natural regeneration.

The action plan will be launched by environment secretary George Eustice at Delamere Forest, Cheshire, tomorrow in a speech in which he will also set out moves to protect the country’s peatlands and boost wildlife.

He is expected to say: ‘We are putting plans in place to treble woodland creation rates by the end of this Parliament, reflecting England’s contribution to meeting the UK’s overall target of planting 30,000 hectares per year by the end of this Parliament.

‘We will make sure that the right trees are planted in the right places and that more green jobs are created in the forestry sector.’

However, environmental campaigners have pointed out that England will still deliver less than a quarter of the planting target for the UK.

Danny Gross, trees campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said: ‘The government’s new plan fails to rise to the challenge of the climate and nature crisis. It means England would grow less than a quarter of the woodland needed to hit the government’s existing unambitious short-term target for the UK, leaving Scotland and Wales to do all the heavy lifting.”

‘The government needs to up its game and set a long-term tree cover target, protect other natural habitats, and support farmers to grow more trees.’

In related news, the Woodland Trust has pledged to plant 50 million trees by 2025 in a bid to help tackle the climate crisis.

Photo Credit – Pixabay

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