May 20 2014

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Forestry Commission figures indicate woodland planting failing to hit targets.

Figures published by the Forestry Commission this week show that 3,300 hectares of new woodland was planted in England during the 2013-14 planting season, well below the target of 5,000ha per year set out in the Government’s Forestry Policy Statement. Planting also fell significantly below target in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, with total planting across the UK of just 12,800ha.


The latest National Statistics on Woodland Area, Planting & Restocking produced by the Forestry Commission highlights the following key findings: · The total area of UK woodland in the UK at 31 March 2014 is 3.14 million ha representing 13% of the UK’s total land area. This breaks down into 10% in England, 15% in Wales, 18% in Scotland and8% in Northern Ireland. · 44% of UK woodland is now certified, equating to 1.38million ha. This includes all Forestry Commission/Natural Resources Wales/Forest Service woodland. · Most of the new woodland created in 2013-14 was broadleaved species. · In addition to new planting 16,000ha of UK woodland were restocked in 2013-14, mostly with conifers. Commenting on the figures, Austin Brady, Director of Conservation at the Woodland Trust criticised Government reliance on private investment arguing that “Central grants will fund a maximum of just 2,000 hectares in the 2015/16 planting season, leaving the private sector to fund an additional 3,000 hectares, for which there is no historical precedent. “Brady also argued that woodland losses are not being recorded adequately, making it difficult to assess the state of new planting in relation to overall woodland cover. The Forestry Commission report can be viewed in full here. (http://www.forestry.gov.uk/pdf/WAPR2014.pdf/$FILE/WAPR2014.pdf)

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