Fears for woodland

“We urgently need more detailed reassurances from Government that protection will not be weakened.”

Weakening planning rules and rowing back on plans to pay farmers for woodland creation could hit the UK’s tree planting efforts to tackle climate change

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Great news for woodland in East Devon:

The planting of trees has begun in a new wood near Exmouth in a bid to ‘allow nature to bounce back’. The Woodland Trust charity recently celebrated the planting of the first oak tree at its Yonder Oak Wood site, in Lympstone, near Exmouth, with the aim of kickstarting nature’s recovery. Community plantings are set to start in December when the 134-acre site opens to the public. The charity hopes to plant 13,000 trees by the end of 2022.

Tree planting at new wood near Exmouth will ‘kickstart nature’s recovery’

With BBC SouthWest also reporting the news: First tree to be planted as part of wildlife haven in Exmouth – BBC News

The Woodland Trust has also been running pieces in Farmers Weekly including this from Wiltshire:

For Ben Butler, director of the 1,000-acre Manor Farm in Avebury, Wiltshire, balancing a profitable working farm while doing his bit for wildlife and conservation is “hugely important”. “Should we be producing food or giving up farmland to wildlife?” he asks. “I think you can do both. We have been producing food on a good scale… but you don’t have to farm right up to the fence line. There is a place for wildlife.”

Ben’s Story: Trees can benefit wildlife and food production – Farmers Weekly

However, the Woodland Trust is by no means happy with how things are going – as demonstrated in its latest press release;

Just last year Government committed to improving protection for ancient woods, but this and many other vital safeguards could now be under threat. The new announcements have prompted a huge outcry, but Government’s early responses to criticism fall woefully short in reassuring us. We urgently need more detailed reassurances from Government that protection will not be weakened.

Urge Government to Protect the Environment – Woodland Trust

As reported widely in the press:

Weakening planning rules and rowing back on plans to pay farmers for woodland creation could hit the UK’s tree planting efforts to tackle climate change, campaigners warn. The Woodland Trust is warning that Government moves to relax planning policy in “investment zones” and rumoured risks to a new scheme to pay farmers for creating habitat could see the UK lose more trees and plant fewer…

Defra spokesperson said: “Claims we intend to go back on our commitment to the environment are simply not right. We are committed to halting the decline of nature by 2030 and will not undermine our obligations to the environment in pursuit of growth. We want to see more trees, in and outside woodlands, contributing to environmental improvement, net zero, and economic growth. We will continue to work with our partners in and outside government to make this happen.”

Woodland expansion for climate fight at risk from Government plans – charity | The Independent

Analysis by the Woodland Trust found there were more than 125,000 hectares of ancient woodland within the council areas of the 38 authorities who were known initially to have expressed an interest in investment zones.

Darren Moorcroft, the chief executive of the Woodland Trust, said: “On the basis of what we have learned from government so far since the mini-budget and the retained EU law bill, this combination of plans could see the UK lose more trees and woods – and plant fewer – at a time when we need to strengthen protection and ramp up woodland expansion to tackle the nature and climate crises. We are especially concerned about the protection of ancient woods and trees in new investment zones, where planning rules would be weaker and recent so-called assurances have done nothing to allay our fears.”

UK’s ancient woodlands at risk from investment zones, say charities | Trees and forests | The Guardian

   
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