Farmers, foresters and land managers, experts and environmental organisations, and members of the public are invited by government to give their views on the future creation and management of our trees, woodlands and forests in England.
The public consultation has been launched today and remains open until 11th September 2020.
The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) says that subject to review, the resulting England Tree Strategy will be published later in the year. The new strategy will align with other strategies that flow from Defra’s 25-Year Environment Plan, including:
- the recent Tree Health Resilience Strategy;
- the forthcoming England Peat Strategy and Nature Strategy;
- as well the future Environmental Land Management Scheme which will operate on the basis of providing public payments for public goods.
In the March Budget, Defra welcomed the new Nature for Climate Fund from HM Treasury. The England Tree Strategy will help inform how elements of this £640million fund will be used to deliver against the manifesto tree planting commitments, alongside peatland restoration and wider nature recovery.
Forestry Minister Lord Goldsmith commented: “In many ways the coronavirus pandemic has shone a light on the importance of nature. Growing and protecting our nation’s forests will be an integral part of our recovery, and the England Tree Strategy will give us the tools to do this.”
The consultation is focussed on four main areas:
Expanding and connecting trees and woodlands by:
increasing the supply of planting material, the size of the forestry workforce and encouraging collective agreement from stakeholders to obtain widespread support for woodland creation providing farmers and other landowners and managers with the right incentives through improving grant funding and simplified application processes working with partners to increase tree cover across public land encouraging private investment in woodland creation by helping to develop the market for the ecosystem services generated as trees grow expanding tree and woodland cover to contribute to the Nature Recovery Network, which aims to create or restore 500,000 hectares of wildlife-rich habitat.
Protecting and improving our trees and woodlands by:
building the capacity of the domestic UK nursery sector to ensure planting stock is bio-secure and from a known provenance reducing damage to woodlands through the sustainable management of invasive species
stronger protection for ancient woodland sites, building on newly proposed measures of the Environment Bill which give communities a greater say in the protection of local trees increasing the percentage of woodlands in active management adapting treescapes and woodlands to the future climate and maximising the benefits they can provide to support adaptation measures, such as natural flood management and helping improve the resilience of wildlife.
Engaging people with trees and woodland by:
providing more and better-quality green infrastructure – including in urban areas – to make towns and cities attractive places to live and work and bring about long-term improvements in people’s health supporting Community Forests to create new woodlands and facilitate access to existing woodlands closer engagement with the education and health sectors, developing skills and expertise in the forestry sector to support health programmes through social prescribing.
Supporting the economy by:
growing the market for wood products, and supporting and upskilling farmers and land managers to add trees to their business supporting the sustainable timber industry and increasing the use of all domestic forest products including timber and forest biomass for energy designing grants and clearer policy to increase the uptake of agroforestry.