Responding to the publication of the Environment Bill, Woodland Trust CEO Darren Moorcroft said:

“Our environment is the bedrock of our quality of life. It needs to be healthy, resilient and sustainable. The Environment Bill certainly has the scope to deliver that if sufficient resources are made available for those delivering on the front line and making sure we’re delivering on the ambition.

“The emphasis being placed on nature-based solutions to climate change, and the fact there will now be legally binding targets as well as a duty to protect nature is a big step forward and something we welcome.

“We are also pleased to see legislation for street trees. The requirement for councils to consult local communities before they start felling programmes is a great result for the Woodland Trust and its supporters who have campaigned for this, although we are disappointed our calls for a National Tree Strategy to be enshrined in law have not materialised.

“Sufficient resources must be made available for delivery by national agencies, such as Natural England, and local authorities.  Existing EU standards must also at least be maintained and where possible exceeded. It is vital that the Environment Bill and the Agriculture Bill are strongly linked with a firm focus on rewarding land managers for delivering environmental public goods, like improved habitats for nature and flood alleviation. Increasing tree cover will be a key part of delivering these benefits and the Woodland Trust is, as always, ready to do its part through woodland creation projects such as the Northern Forest.

“It is also vital that there is genuine cross-government buy in and close cooperation with the devolved administrations because nature does not recognise national boundaries. If these things are put in place then the Bill can genuinely drive a badly needed improvement in our environment.”

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Notes to editors

For media queries only please contact Dee Smith on 01476 581121 or deesmith@woodlandtrust.org.uk. Public enquiries should be directed to 0330 333 3300.

The Woodland Trust is the largest woodland conservation charity in the UK. It has over 500,000 supporters. It wants to see a UK rich in native woods and trees for people and wildlife.

The Trust has three key aims: i) protect ancient woodland which is rare, unique and irreplaceable, ii) restoration of damaged ancient woodland, bringing precious pieces of our natural history back to life, iii) plant native trees and woods with the aim of creating resilient landscapes for people and wildlife.

Established in 1972, the Woodland Trust now has over 1,000 sites in its care covering over 28,700 hectares. Access to its woods is free.