Confor reaction to Budget funding

11 March 2020

Confor has put out the following statement in reaction to Rishi Sunak's Budget today. More updates will follow when further details are confirmed...

Stuart Goodall, CEO of Confor, which represents 1600 UK forestry and wood-using businesses, said: "I'm delighted to see the Government confirm it is putting hundreds of millions behind its tree planting target - the biggest injection of forestry funding for a generation. * 

"It's a positive statement of intent that ministers are serious about planting trees to tackle the climate emergency, reduce flood risk and rejuvenate our rural economies. 

"We welcome the ambition to plant 30,000 hectares (75,000 acres) of new woodland in England by 2025 – this will contribute to meeting the UK Government’s commitment to planting 30,000 hectares annually across the UK by 2025, the same target Confor set in its paper last year

"The industry will wait with interest to see more details of how we get trees in the ground and start making a real difference. We have had too many years of woeful tree planting in England - only 7200 hectares planted in the last five years in total - and we need to see ambition matched by action. 

"Confor and its members will now do everything possible to get planting done, working constructively with Government, public forestry sector and all other stakeholders." 

Mr Goodall said he was also very pleased that the Budget allowed forestry to retain the exemption to use red diesel and rebated biofuels beyond April 2022. 

“When it was first mooted in the press that the red diesel exemption for forestry could be removed, I wrote to Defra to explain how important it was to the forestry sector. I’m pleased to see that Government has listened.” 

* The Chancellor said £640 million would be used to plant 40 million trees and help restore peatland.