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Planning to triple tree planting rates in England for climate and nature | Climate News

England plans to triple its tree planting rates for the benefit of nature and the climate, the government says.

Some 2,340 hectares are planted each year, but the government has promised that this will increase to 7,000 hectares per year by the end of this legislature.

The action plan for trees in England will be launched on Tuesday and is expected to indicate how forest cover will be increased through tree planting, focusing on native trees and natural regeneration.

The plan will also include funding for new nurseries to produce disease-free saplings.

A woman walks her dog past colorful autumn trees as they are shrouded in mist over Hampstead Heath, London on Tuesday October 23, 2012. (AP Photo / David Azia)
Some 13% of the UK is forested, but climate advisers say this must increase to 17% by 2050. Pic: AP

But campaigners say that’s not enough, being less than a quarter of the UK-wide target of 30,000 hectares per year by 2024.

The weak target has raised the question of how far the UK target will need to be met by commercial plantations of non-native conifers in Scotland, which campaigners say benefits wildlife or humans.

Critics have also warned that the location of planting campaigns should be carefully considered, as some previous efforts have harmed the environment by draining carbon-storing peatlands or planting on heathland rich in wildlife.

Environment Secretary George Eustice will launch the plan in Delamere Forest, Cheshire, and is expected to say: “We will ensure that the right trees are planted in the right places and that more green jobs are created in the forestry sector.”

Danny Gross, tree activist at Friends of the Earth, said: “The government’s new plan fails to meet the challenge of the climate and natural crisis.

“This means England would cultivate less than a quarter of the forest needed to meet the government’s short-term unambitious goal for the UK, leaving Scotland and Wales to do all the work.

“The government needs to improve its game and set a goal of long-term tree cover, protect other natural habitats and support …

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This notice was published: 2021-05-15 23:50:00