The Wildlife Trusts' response to the Government's Tree Action Plan

photo by Guy Edwardes

On Sunday 16 May 2021, details of the Government's Tree Action Plan were announced

On Sunday 16 May 2021, details of the Government's Tree Action Plan were announced, including:  

  • Plans to treble tree planting rates by the end of this Parliament to be set out by the Environment Secretary in a speech next week
  • Action plan to boost tree planting will outline government’s vision to restore the natural environment and drive progress on net zero targets  
  • New target comes ahead of UK hosting COP26 conference later this year to drive international action on climate change

Responding to the publication, Craig Bennett, Chief Executive, The Wildlife Trusts said: 

“We need more trees because they play a vital role in absorbing carbon, but at The Wildlife Trusts we would prefer to see a focus on increasing woodland habitat rather than tree planting per se. We need to be addressing the climate crises and ecological crises together, and so it is crucial that new woodlands help nature by filling in the gaps and joining the dots between existing woodlands, and avoiding planting on other precious habitats such as peatlands and wildflower meadows.  

“Despite promises from Defra and the Forestry Commission, there have been too many times when peatlands and other special habitats have been damaged by planting non-native trees – and we hope that lessons have been learned about planting the right tree in the right place. 

“A carefully planned approach to expanding and creating new woodlands is essential – guided by a Nature Recovery Network – to create more, bigger, joined-up woods, thriving with wildlife and accessible to people. It’s good to see some tentative support for natural regeneration, where woodland naturally grows from fallen seeds. This should be the preferred way of growing woods wherever possible, as it is the natural way of creating complex habitats to develop; good for nature and good for the climate.”

The speech from the Environment Secretary will stream on our YouTube channel on Tuesday 17 May at 1.30pm. For more information, see our event