Planting more trees is essential to meeting carbon reduction targets, Welsh Government told

19 December 2017

Wales needs to plant 4,000 hectares of new woodland (around 8 million trees) each year to meet the legislated target of an 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050, according to a report published today by the UK Climate Change Committee (UKCCC).  

The chair of the UKCCC, The Rt. Hon John Gummer, Lord Deben, commented at the launch that it was disappointing that “Wales had not embraced forestry as it should have in recent years” and that “Wales cannot meet its climate change mitigation obligations until we get on top of the forestry issue, Wales needs a national determination to plant more trees”. 

Forestry is also at the top of the list identified in the report of ‘measures that offer benefits beyond greenhouse gas reduction, such as supporting the seven well-being goals of the WellBeing of Future Generations Act.’ 

Wales Wellbeing graphic

A key policy recommendation of the report is, ‘The Welsh Government should simplify and streamline the process for supporting tree planting, in order to reduce the barriers to action.’ 

Confor Wales Manager Martin Bishop, who attended the launch of the report in Cardiff, said, ‘It is encouraging to see this recognition of the vital role of forestry. Growing trees for timber is a significant carbon sink and using that timber in construction locks the carbon up in buildings for many decades. Forestry is a vibrant part of our rural economy, and the industry is ready to invest and plant trees as soon as the blocks to planting are addressed.’ 

Last week, Welsh Environment minister Hannah Blythyn told the Welsh Assembly that new woodland creation would be one of her top priorities (see Confor article here).