England Trees Action Plan 2021 to 2024
The England Trees Action Plan 2021 to 2024 sets out the government’s long-term vision for the treescape it wants to see in England by 2050 and beyond. The plan provides a strategic framework for implementing the Nature for Climate Fund and outlines over 80 policy actions the government is taking over this Parliament to help deliver this vision.
An Introduction to the Plan by George Eustice, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs:
The events of the last year have led people to appreciate the difference nature makes to our lives in a new way. When we destroy nature, we undermine our very foundations. We face a choice as we map out our recovery – and we must choose to build back better and greener. This Government’s pledge is not only to stem the tide of nature loss, but to turn it around – to leave the environment in a better state than we found it. The England Trees Action Plan is central to this.
It sets out our long-term plan for the whole treescape – trees, woodlands and forests. It includes our vision for trees in 2050 and the economic, environmental, and social benefits that we will realise through our new trees and woodlands. It sets out the actions Government will take in this parliament, in partnership with the private sector, the third sector, and communities, setting England on a course to support unprecedented levels of tree planting and ensure that we realise the many benefits that trees can provide. Together with the England Peat Action Plan and wider plans and strategies for nature, it sets out how we will tackle the twin challenges of biodiversity loss and climate change.
Trees and woodlands have a vital role in delivering net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, achieving the goals of our 25 Year Environment Plan, and delivering on our ambitions to conserve and enhance biodiversity. Following the industrial revolution and First World War, woodland cover in England fell to just 5.1% of land area in 1924. Since then, sustained efforts have seen it continue to grow to 10.1%.
Climate change and biodiversity loss now require our generation to respond more boldly, taking us far beyond where we are today. Planting vastly more trees in England, and protecting and improving our existing woodlands, will be key to the Government’s plan to achieve net zero and to create a Nature Recovery Network across the length of England. This is why the Government has committed to increasing tree planting rates across the UK to 30,000 hectares per year by the end of this Parliament.
To achieve this we are intending to spend over £500 million of the £640 million Nature for Climate Fund on trees and woodlands in England between 2020 and 2025 to support this ambition. And by planting the right trees in the right places for the right reasons, we can do so much more than just sequester carbon.
This plan aims to see current planting trends for majority native broadleaf woodlands continue, given the additional benefits they provide for nature and people. As well as tackling climate change and providing vital habitats, trees and woodlands are a pivotal part of our landscapes – particularly when planted and supported in and around our towns and cities – and can provide space for people to connect with nature.
Trees and woodlands also play an increasingly important role in building thriving rural economies, helping to level up the whole of the UK, and supporting a green recovery by stimulating markets for timber and wood products as renewable resources. Our trees are facing unprecedented environmental challenges and our woodlands need to be resilient to this, including those that we plant over the coming decades.
Alongside planting more trees, we must protect the precious ancient woodlands and veteran trees which have stood for hundreds of years. The oldest tree in England is estimated to be 2,000 to 3,000 years old. By preserving these and planting more to withstand the test of time, trees can form a central part of our vision to leave the environment in a better state than we found it for generations to come.
We must come together to protect, improve and enhance our trees and woodlands across England which is why we will be providing improved funding options for different types of treescapes and landowners and managers. This includes the new England Woodland Creation Offer which will support landowners and managers with establishing trees and woodlands as we transition into our new Sustainable Farming Incentive, Local Nature Recovery and Landscape Recovery Schemes.
It is not just about funding the trees and woodlands of tomorrow, but supporting their long term management and protection. That is why we will develop better guidance, provide more advice, develop platforms and opportunities for innovation and encourage more people into this thriving sector as we create more jobs throughout the whole supply chain.
George Eustice, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
For more details and to read the full Action Plan: Click Here