The new England Tree Action Plan sets out the Government’s long-term vision for trees, woodlands and forests in England. Not only a statement of intent, it also states actions which will be taken to achieve these ambitions over the course of the next Parliament.
At the head of these plans is the Government’s aim to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 along with measures to:
- improve woodland management;
- boost tree cover by both creating new woodland and by planting trees in urban areas;
- improving the green economy; and
- realising the social benefits of trees.
Over £500 million has been committed to trees within the Nature for Climate Fund and the new England Woodland Creation Offer is due to provide up to 100% intervention rate (up to a per hectare cap). It will also provide:
- annual maintenance payments for 10 years;
- payments towards recreational infrastructure such as paths and picnic benches;
- payments towards infrastructure such as forest roads and tracks; and
- stackable additional contributions that recognise the public benefits that well-designed woodland created in the right locations will generate.
More detail is due to be released on the England Woodland Creation Offer within the next few weeks. The additional support for provision of public benefit is a strong move toward quantifying these additional social, environmental and economic benefits which we all know trees and woodland provide.
What else is happening to help achieve these planting targets:
- New community forests;
- Providing additional funding as part of the Local Authority Treescapes Fund;
- Extending the Urban Tree Challenge Fund;
- Expanding the size of the nation’s forests. By working with public and private landowners to create new woodlands under Forestry England’s management and through Forestry England’s Woodland Creation Partnership.