Confor has welcomed the UK Government’s England Trees Action Plan with Chief Executive Stuart Goodall, Chief Executive commenting:
“Confor welcomes the UK Government’s England Trees Action Plan, setting out how it proposes to deliver the promise made at the 2019 general election to plant 30,000 hectares of new woodland every year by 2025 in the UK.
“This is the first comprehensive strategy for England’s forests and woodlands since 2007. Since then, public attitudes to the nation’s trees have been revolutionized, with the climate emergency and then the pandemic demonstrating beyond all doubt the need to greatly expand the area of forestry in this country.
“Confor and its members look forward to working with the UK Government to deliver its promises to the British people. We’ve seen targets missed by governments in the past so we need clear milestones to the end of 2024 to ensure this plan stays on track.
“We welcome the focus on green jobs. The UK forestry and wood processing industry employs more than 50,000 people and can play a big part in delivering the green recovery from the pandemic. Tree planting is great for soaking up carbon, but we also need to make more products from wood to store that carbon. Using more wood also displaces carbon-heavy materials like concrete and steel.
“To succeed, this plan must take coordinated actions on tree planting, woodland management and timber use. The UK is the world’s second largest net importer of wood, against a backdrop of rapidly expanding global demand and limited new supply – so we must grow more wood in the UK for future use, especially to build the hundreds of thousands new homes the country needs.
“That means we need to plant a significant amount of productive species as part of mixed, modern, multi-purpose forests, and bring more woodland into active management.
“The forestry sector is perhaps uniquely placed to help deliver a green recovery from the pandemic, creating thousands of new green jobs, while also contributing to net zero and creating more places for wildlife.”