Manifesto calls for radical action on planting in Northern Ireland

25 April 2022

Tree planting rates in Northern Ireland are way behind official targets - and radical action is needed to get back on track, politicians have been warned. 

Only 200-300 hectares (roughly 500-750 acres) of new woodland is being created annually in Northern Ireland, against a target of 900 hectares per year set by the independent Climate Change Committee - and supported by Rural Affairs Minister Edwin Poots. 

Forestry and wood trade body Confor has called on all political parties to commit to hitting the 900-hectare target in its first-ever manifesto for Assembly elections in Northern Ireland. Confor, which represents 1,500 forestry and wood-using businesses across the UK, also calls for a new Forestry Strategy for Northern Ireland - as the current one was written when Tony Blair was Prime Minister in 2006. 

The Future is Forestry: A Manifesto for Trees and Timber in Northern Ireland also calls for increasing use of home-grown wood, and better promotion of the economic and environmental benefits of tree planting to farmers and landowners. The last recommendation in its five-point plan is to examine the complex rules around planting trees, which often put people off.