Tree Planting

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 14th January 2022.

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Photo of Ian Lavery Ian Lavery Labour, Wansbeck

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans his Department has to ensure that the trees lost as a result of Storm Arwen are replaced.

Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Forestry is devolved and so this answer is for England only.

Initial efforts have been focused on supporting the emergency services and utility providers in re-establishing essential networks and infrastructure with ongoing work to make sure impacted forests are safe for public access. It is estimated that it will take over a year to plan and implement the full recovery effort.

A felling licence is not required to harvest trees that are no longer growing such as those that are blown over or snapped by the wind or are dead or dangerous. In some situations, this may lead to blown trees being cleared with no obligation for the owner to restock. In England, Defra and the Forestry Commission are investigating how regulation and incentives could be used to reduce the risk that there is a loss of tree cover or woodland area in these situations. Regulatory arrangements for clearing windblown trees vary between devolved administrations.

The Government has committed to bring tree planting rates across the UK up to 30,000 hectares per year by the end of this parliament in May 2024. The England Trees Action Plan is supported by an intended £500 million from the Nature for Climate Fund. In the Net Zero Strategy, the Government also announced that it will boost the Nature for Climate fund with a further £124 million of new money, ensuring total spend of more than £750 million by 2025 on peat restoration, woodland creation and management.

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