Closed petition Enshrine tree planting target in law
The UK is hosting the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference and has already enshrined a net zero carbon emissions target in law. Now is the time for the Government to set a legally-binding tree planting target, in line with the recommendation by the Committee on Climate Change.
Tree planting is integral to tackling the climate crisis. Despite this, only 13% of the UK has tree cover, compared to an EU average of 38%. A legally binding target to plant 30,000 ha of new woodland each year to 2050, as has been recommended by the Committee on Climate Change, that considers best sustainable practices in urban and rural tree planting could help increase biodiversity, reconnect people with nature and deliver on our net zero target.
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This response was given on 21 May 2021
The Government is exploring whether a statutory target for woodland creation in England would be appropriate.
Read the response in full
The Government has committed to increase the rate of new woodland creation across the UK to 30,000 hectares per year by the end of this Parliament and to at least treble tree planting rates to deliver improved biodiversity, climate, economic and societal benefits.
England will have at least 12% woodland cover by mid-century, contributing to net zero greenhouse gas emissions. Woodlands will be managed for biodiversity and other environmental and societal benefits, along with providing a sustainable source of timber and other products.
We are exploring whether a longer-term statutory target for woodland creation in England would be appropriate, including possible interactions with other potential environmental targets.
The Environment Bill, currently passing through Parliament, seeks to introduce a mechanism for the Secretary of State to set targets in a number of environmental areas, including woodland creation. The development of any environmental targets will follow a robust, evidence-led process that includes a statutory requirement to seek independent expert advice and a role for stakeholders and the public, as well as scrutiny from Parliament.
We are working towards a public consultation for publication in early 2022 that will include proposed targets and an assessment of their impacts. The newly published England Trees Action Plan sets out plans for achieving an unprecedented increase in woodland creation in England, supported by the Nature for Climate Fund. This programme of work will support the Government’s tree planting ambitions over the course of this Parliament and help to increase woodland creation rapidly in England.
Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs
Other parliamentary business
Tell MPs what you think about the Climate Assembly’s recommendations for net-zero emissions
MPs from six select committees of the House of Commons joined together to set up a citizens’ assembly on climate change to look at how the UK should reach its commitment to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The Climate Assembly UK brought together 108 people from across the UK. Together they were representative of the wider UK population in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, educational level, where in the UK they live, whether they live in an urban or rural area, and how concerned they are about climate change.
They worked together to create recommendations to Government.
How can you help?
MPs want to know what you and your communities think about the recommendations made by the assembly.
Discuss these questions with your school, workplace, family or community group and submit a joint response. It’s a great opportunity to hear others’ views on these issues and to share the outcomes of your discussions with MPs.
Share your answers via this online survey: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/A464RU/
Please return your responses by Friday 20th November 2020.
Read more about the Assembly and its recommendations: https://www.ukparliamentweek.org/en/blog/tell-the-climate-assembly-what-your-group-thinks-about-their-recommendations/
Information provided in the survey will be used to inform the select committees’ ongoing work on net zero greenhouse gas emissions.
What is a Select Committee?
Select Committees are cross-party groups of MPs. They are independent of the Government.
Find out how Select Committees work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_2RDuDs44c
MPs to debate the National Tree Strategy
MPs will debate the National Tree Strategy this Wednesday 16 December in Westminster Hall.
This will be a general debate. General debates allow MPs to debate important issues, however they do not end in a vote nor can they change the law.
The debate will start at 9.30am and last for 90 minutes.
Find out more about the National Tree Strategy here: https://consult.defra.gov.uk/forestry/england-tree-strategy/
Find out more about how Parliamentary debates work: https://www.parliament.uk/about/how/business/debates/
UK biodiversity report published by MPs on the Environmental Audit Committee
The Environmental Audit Committee has published its report on 'Biodiversity in the UK: bloom or bust', which calls for the Government to conserve and restore UK biodiversity and ecosystems.
The report is published amid grave concern that of the G7 countries, the UK has the lowest level of biodiversity remaining.
The MPs on the Committee found that existing Government policy and targets were inadequate to address plummeting biodiversity loss. This is made worse by nature policy not being joined up across Government, nor is nature protection consistently factored into policy making.
Some key recommendations made by the Committee include:
- The Government must establish a timetable to put management plans and monitoring in place for all Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), with different categories of destructive bottom trawling banned or restricted. More MPAs should be established as 'no-take' zones
- In the next Spending Review, greater funding must be given to Natural England which reflects its responsibilities and tasks.
- The Government should commission a review identifying and tracking public expenditure harmful to biodiversity. Once identified, Ministers must act to remove harmful subsidies and re-direct money to nature conservation and recovery.
- Tree planting should not occur on peat soils
- Education on biodiversity must increase: a Natural History GCSE should be introduced and investment in skills should be increased for chartered ecology and associated disciplines.
Read an interactive summary of the report:
What happens next?
The Government now must respond to the Committee's report, which was published on 30 June 2021, within two months. The Committee will publish the Government’s response here: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/62/environmental-audit-committee/
What is the Environmental Audit Committee?
The Environmental Audit Committee is a cross-party group of non-Government MPs who look into how Government policies and departments contribute to environmental protection and sustainable development.
Follow the Committee on Twitter for updates on its work:
The Environmental Audit Committee is a select committee. Find out how Select Committees work: