Chance to question forestry minister on tree strategy

29 June 2020

Forestry minister Lord Goldsmith will speak and take questions about the England Tree Strategy at the next meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Forestry and Tree Planting.

The online meeting, organised by Confor, is on Wednesday July 8 at 1-1.45pm and Confor members and forestry stakeholders are welcome to attend.

"This is a great opportunity for members to hear Lord Goldsmith's vision for the England Tree Strategy,” said Stuart Goodall, Confor chief executive.

"On behalf of the industry, we’re looking for a joined-up and coherent strategy that links tree planting, greater management of existing woodland and the use of home-grown timber.

"Delivering on that would provide long-term, self-sustaining benefits for our environment and economy – including climate change mitigation, biodiversity benefits and a green economic recovery.

"To do this, however, we must plant all kinds of forests, including large-scale productive forests – and recognise that doing so doesn’t involve a trade-off between the economy and the environment."

This is a timely event following on from this week’s Committee on Climate Change report which said "tree planting policy had failed outside Scotland" in its progress report to the UK government.

The ambitious target of 30,000ha of annual new planting in the UK was high up in the announcement launching the Tree Strategy consulation (which ends on September 11) and the Defra announcement recognised that "an unprecedented increase in afforestation in England" will be needed to meet the target.

Only 13,460ha were planted in the UK in 2019/20 – 80% of that in Scotland – and Lord Goldsmith is likely to be asked how he proposes to drive this up.

The meeting will be opened by Ben Lake MP, chair of the APPG on Forestry and Tree Planting. Although the Tree Strategy is primarily about England, UK-wide planting is needed to hit targets and many issues, including plant health, are relevant to all the UK.

Forestry minister Lord Goldsmith