Forests

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 11th July 2019.

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Photo of Seema Malhotra Seema Malhotra Labour/Co-operative, Feltham and Heston

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department has taken to promote (a) reforestation and (b) prevent deforestation in each region and nation of the UK in the last five years.

Photo of David Rutley David Rutley Assistant Whip (HM Treasury), Government Whip

This is a devolved matter and the information provided therefore relates to England only.

The Government provides a range of support to landowners for new woodland creation through Countryside Stewardship, the Woodland Carbon Fund and the HS2 Woodland Fund. These have been available for some time and are open to new applications from farmers and landowners who can meet the criteria for funding.

In the Autumn Budget the Government announced an additional £60 million for tree planting initiatives, comprising £10 million to fund urban tree planting and £50 million for a Woodland Carbon Guarantee scheme. This is in addition to the Government’s kick start investment in the Northern Forest, and establishment of the Forestry Investment Zone (FIZ) pilot in northeast Cumbria.

There are regulations in place to prevent unauthorised deforestation, primarily the Environmental Impact Assessment (Forestry) (England and Wales) Regulations 1999, as amended. If plans for deforestation are determined to have significant environmental impact and exceed the threshold in the regulations, landowners must gain Forestry Commission consent before any change of land use can take place. If trees are removed without consent then restoration can be ordered. Under the provisions given in Part II of the Forestry Act 1967 (as amended) proposals for deforestation must, like most tree felling, have a Felling Licence from the Forestry Commission.

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