Confor welcomes 'plant trees now' statement from Defra

6 November 2019

The reassurance from the UK Government that landowners should plant trees now - and be sure of future public support - has been welcomed by Confor.

Zac Goldsmith MP, Forestry Minister in the Boris Johnson Government, issued a very strong statement of support for the forestry industry before the formal dissolution of parliament ahead of the election.

His statement - Reassurance to land managers to plant trees now - said: “I want to reassure you that support for tree planting and woodland creation will continue to be part of this government’s agenda. There is no need for concern about how woodland created now will be treated under Environmental Land Management (ELM) in the future and certainly no reason to delay tree planting. To respond to the climate emergency, we need you to plant trees now.”

The statement also included this:

"I reiterate that: our current grants present an attractive offer; trees, woodlands and forestry will be considered within or alongside the future ELM scheme; and no one creating new woodlands using our current grants will be unfairly disadvantaged when we transition to new arrangements under ELM. Until then, take-up of our current grants offers a viable, long-term source of income for delivering environmental benefits. I urge land managers to take up these offers, now. I’m reminded of an old Chinese proverb: ‘The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is now”, which feels particularly relevant today.’”

The statement also laid out the range of support available to plant trees and a commitment to meeting existing planting targets, which are not being hit at present.

Stuart Goodall, CEO of Confor, said:

"I strongly welcome the Minister’s re-assurance of the Government’s support for woodland creation and that landowners who plant trees now will not suffer disadvantage against any future land management opportunities that may arise in England.

“Tree planting is increasingly at the heart of independent expert recommendations to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 in the UK and tackle the climate emergency. It’s vital that we build momentum on woodland creation in England and current and future Government support is key to achieving that."

Read the full statement here

and Confor’s “ambitous but achievable” Woodland Carbon Targets for the UK here