The road has been long and winding:
After a summer collecting signatures at events and online, our petition was formally handed to the Petitions Committee, boasting more than 2,200 signatures. Thank you to everyone who took part.
The petition received a response from the Minister for National Resources, Carl Sargeant, who expressed agreement, pointed out that the Well-being of Future Generations Act places a statutory duty on public bodies to pursue and set of well-being goals and therefore recommended Coed Cadw work with local authorities across Wales, to help deliver this on the ground.
The Committee considered the petition again, the Cabinet Secretary invited Coed Cadw to join the Trees and Design Action Group in her response, and highlighted the multi-benefits of urban green spaces and would go on to inform the Welsh Government’s National Natural Resource Policy.
The Committee considered the petition again, with the knowledge that Wales had fallen to only planting 400 hectares of new woodland in one year. They highlighted these failures to the Cabinet Secretary who concurred “increasing tree canopy coverage in Wales’ towns and cities is a priority for the area statement process that will be contributed to by Natural Resources Wales” (more about Area Statements later.)
The petition was utilised by the Welsh Assembly Environment Committee to lodge the recommendation of 20% tree canopy cover in towns in the Inquiry into Forestry and Woodlands in Wales. The Committee released recommendations at the Royal Welsh Show, and the Welsh Government has a duty to respond. We expect ambitious commitments from them on this in the autumn.
At each stage, we’ve been working behind the scenes to keep this petition alive and have provided further evidence and comment to back our call. So we’re delighted to see this very positive outcome, especially after so long. But there’s still more to do.