On Friday 19 June 2020, we launched our consultation on updating Government’s policy for trees, woodland and forestry through the creation of a new ‘England Tree Strategy’.
The announcement was reported on by ITV News, BBC Online, Farming UK, Horticulture Weekly, Yorkshire Post and Harrogate News. Chair of the Forestry Commission Sir William Worsley was also interviewed for Radio 4’s PM Programme (5.45pm) where he spoke about the importance of trees and forests in connecting people to nature, supporting the economy and forming a key part of the nation’s green recovery from coronavirus.
Subject to consultation, the new strategy will set out policies to expand tree cover, support woodland management and increase public engagement with trees and woodlands. It will help ensure the government's tree planting commitment – to increase tree planting to 30,000 hectares per year across the UK by 2025 - is delivered, working closely with the devolved administrations, communities and landowners to do so.
Launching the consultation, Forestry Minister Lord Goldsmith, said:
“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.
“This consultation will help inform a keystone strategy which will be vital for helping us deliver the government’s tree planting commitment, our commitment to the recovery of nature and reaching net zero emissions by 2050.
“But, we need input from the sector and public. I encourage everyone to give their views to design a tree strategy that delivers the maximum benefits for our environment for generations to come.”
Forestry Commission Chair and former National Tree Champion, Sir William Worsley said:
“The England Tree Strategy will set out how we plan to accelerate woodland creation, but also importantly how to manage and protect the trees we already have. Significant work has gone into developing the groundwork for a strategy which will ensure the right tree is planted in the right place, and for the right reason.
“We now need people to submit their views, to design a strategy that increases and balances the different benefits that our woodlands provide, to nature, to people, and to the economy.
“The Forestry Commission will be at the forefront of delivery and I look forward to working closely with Defra and all stakeholders involved at this exciting time.”
The England Tree Strategy will be developed in parallel with other key strategies that flow from the 25 Year Environment Plan. These include the recent Tree Health Resilience Strategy and 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.
The consultation period is due to conclude in 12 weeks on 11 September 2020. Subject to review, the England Tree Strategy will be published later in the year.