The Welsh deputy minister for climate change has issued a ‘national call to arms,’ asking the Welsh public to help tackle the climate emergency through tree planting.
According to the Climate Change Committee, to reach net-zero by 2030, Wales would need to plant 43,000 hectares of new trees, rising to 180,000 hectares by 2050.
In a bid to achieve this, people across Wales will be encouraged to plant trees, and the Welsh government will work with farmers and landowners to identify planting opportunities.
At a visit to Stump up for Trees, a small charity planting 100,000 native broadleaf trees near Abergavenny, Lee Waters deputy minister said: ‘Over the last three weeks I’ve been working intensely with a team of experts to understand how we can dramatically increase the number of trees we plant every year and transform the way Welsh wood is used.
‘It is a huge challenge and will only be possible through an alliance for change, involving many partners and every family in Wales. Today I am issuing a national call to arms, asking everyone to join us in delivering this challenge to plant more trees for Wales.’
He added that he wants everyone to appreciate the many benefits of tree planting, including tackling climate change, improving air quality, enhancing nature and improving people’s mental wellbeing.
Work is also beginning on a new Timber Industrial Strategy. Currently, 80% of timber used in the UK is imported and only 4% of the 1.5 million harvested Welsh timber is processed to be used as construction-grade timber.
The minister said: ‘Meeting net zero, particularly in the construction sector, will mean using much more timber in Wales. This means an important role for productive woodlands to sustainably grow more Welsh timber, rather than importing timber which has a negative environmental impact abroad.
‘There is an opportunity for timber processors and manufacturers in Wales to grow and create more jobs. This will require coordination across the supply chain, to ensure more Welsh timber goes to high value added uses, and that as much of the wealth created as possible is retained in Wales.’
The minister has also confirmed that the Welsh government would open a Woodland Investment Grant later this week, as part of plans for a National Forest for Wales.
The minister will set out the findings of his expert group in the Senedd later today.
Photo by Amy Garrett-Williams