APPG: plant more trees and use more wood
3 June 2020
The Chairman of the All-Party Group on Forestry and Tree Planting has written to Lord Goldsmith adding the APPG’s support to accelerated tree planting - and action by Government to increase the use of wood in construction as part of a green recovery.
Ben Lake MP has also urged the UK Government to look again at current proposals to ban the use of wood in high-rise buildings, prompted by the Grenfell tragedy, and to consider the evidence of how wood can be used safely.
The letter to Lord Goldsmith, Minister of State at Defra with responsibility for forestry, was sent after the APPG's first webinar, which heard strong support for tree planting and wood use from Lord Deben, Chair of the Committee on Climate Change.
The letter says: "The Committee on Climate Change wrote recently to the Prime Minister setting out its views on how best to ensure a resilient recovery from the crisis. This includes continuing to prioritise tree planting across the UK. The APPG wishes to add its support to this advice.
"During the [APPG] webinar, Lord Deben said the UK Government should also take the lead to ensure that, in its own construction programme, priority is given to wood as the material of choice - because of the proven capacity for carbon sequestration this offers. He was also concerned that a current Government consultation on Combustible Materials in high-rise buildings might further limit the use of wood in construction without any basis in evidence and he urged that this be looked at again. This approach also has the support of the APPG.
"A number of contributors to the webinar highlighted the forthcoming Tree Strategy and asked that the points raised above be considered within that Strategy."
Stuart Goodall, CEO of Confor, who also spoke at the webinar, said: “We had an excellent discussion on the importance of planting more trees, more quickly, and using Government’s procurement powers to promote greater use of wood.
“The upcoming consultation on an Tree Strategy for England provides a means to drive the agendas and I’m pleased Ben Lake has written this letter as we need to continue pushing forward in all these areas at the highest levels of Government.”
The letter by Mr Lake, Plaid Cymru MP for Ceredigion, also invited Lord Goldsmith to speak at the next APPG webinar, to be held in the next few weeks.
Confor will keep all members of the APPG, and the forestry and wood industry, updated on developments - and has shared Mr Lake's letter with all APPG members.