Tree Planting targets should be enshrined in legislation to display a clear commitment to meeting them, the UK Government has been told.
In its response to the England Tree Strategy consultation, forestry and wood trade body Confor says this could be done with an amendment to the Environment Bill.
Confor also wants a review of application and approval processes for planting, similar to the Mackinnon Review in Scotland, which kick-started a tree planting surge north of the border.
In its wide-ranging consultation response, Confor – which represents 1,500 forestry and wood-using businesses – says: “The Tree Strategy needs to be joined up, from the forest to the end product, supporting three main and very closely linked objectives, which bring together the entire forestry and wood supply chain:
• Plant more trees;
• Manage more of our existing woodland;
• Use more home-grown wood.”

Confor urges the Government to understand the importance of our forests to people during lockdown – and how the industry can deliver environmental, economic and social value to lead a Green Recovery from Covid-19.
Its response says: “The consultation presents an excellent opportunity to produce a Strategy for our economy, environment and society at a time when policy interventions delivering multiple benefits must be prioritised.
“As the UK plots a way forward beyond the pandemic, our forests and woods have a vital role in delivering a Green Recovery – as well as a crucial part to play in meeting
longer-term targets, including the UK’s ambition to be Net Zero by 2050 to tackle the climate emergency.”
Caroline Ayre, Confor’s National Manager for England, said: “The England Tree Strategy represents an excellent opportunity to ‘turn the dial’ and really puts forests and wood at the heart of our environmental and economic future. We have seen a very positive approach from Lord Goldsmith since he became Minister and will continue working closely and constructively with him to deliver this exciting agenda.

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