Call for political parties to increase tree cover in England to 16.5%

The Woodland Trust and Confor are calling on all political parties to commit to urgent action to get tree planting back on track, with new investment and policy initiatives.

Expanding tree cover is essential for tackling the climate and nature crises and providing vital sustainable economic growth.

The minimum required by legal targets is 16.5% tree cover by 2050, but progress in recent years has fallen short of what is needed to meet that.

The Woodland Trust and Confor are also calling on the new government to protect existing woodlands from the threat of pests, disease and climate change, and to work with them to bring woodland into sustainable management. Only 7% of England’s valuable native woodland is currently in good condition. Urgent funding and cooperation with the sector is needed to support the green jobs caring for the woods and forests we already have.

Dr Darren Moorcroft, Woodland Trust CEO, said: “We need all parties to set out plainly how they are going to meet tree targets, support green jobs and give nature a fighting chance for future generations. With the General Election looming, this is a pivotal moment for woods and trees. Woodland wildlife is still declining, irreplaceable habitats like ancient woods need urgent protection and restoration. Trees are one of the strongest weapons we have to tackle the nature and climate crises, so whoever forms the government after 4 July needs to act for people and the planet”.

Stuart Goodall, Confor CEO, said: “All political parties have supported greater tree planting, but we need to accelerate the rate of woodland creation in England. Momentum has been building in recent years, and it’s vital that the next government builds on that and commits the modest sums of money required to unlock huge benefits for jobs, the environment and tackling climate change.”

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