Tree Planting

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Tree Planting

Post by Irn Bru on Tue Jul 04, 2017 9:33 pm

The Chinese are getting a huge clap on the back for their forest city. Those applauding them should have had a look in their own back yard before praising another country.

Conservative Party years behind tree planting manifesto pledge

The government is more than seven years behind its tree planting targets in England, according to an Energydesk analysis of figures released by the Forestry Commission (FC).

The current rate of planting is at its lowest since available statistics began in 1970, according to official data.

The Conservative 2015 manifesto pledged to plant 11 million trees in England over the course of parliament if elected.

Yet the latest figures released last week show that since April 2015 the government has only overseen the planting of 1.35 million trees, equivalent to 1009 hectares.

This represents a 66% drop on the rate of planting over the course of the previous government. At the current rate, it would take the government 12.2 years to reach the pledge instead of the three until the next election.

The government agency responsible for the protection of forests blamed the low planting figures on poor uptake of grants provided to farmers and land managers to encourage tree planting.

Figures in the FC corporate plan for 2016 also reveal a 57% downturn in restoration of ancient woodland on private land – following years of steady improvement – which it also puts down to “owner and agent reticience” with the grant system.

Climate change

The lack of progress contrasts with the recommendations made by the government’s climate change advisors, which last year called for annual tree planting in the UK to increase by 10,000 hectares to support national climate targets.

The news also comes after a £15m funding pledge by the government for natural flood management schemes, including tree planting, was announced on Thursday. It followed an expose that revealed the government had previously allocated no funding for such measures, despite a cross party group of MPs decrying the lack of support in a report earlier this month.

Austin Brady, director of conservation and external affairs at the Woodland Trust told Energydesk: “These figures are a huge concern. This is the lowest level of tree planting in a generation, at a time when we are going to be losing a lot of trees anyway – because of pressure from disease and developments like HS2.”

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More Toriy broken pledges.
Irn Bru
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