Official statistics on tree planting released today* show the scale of the challenge Government faces in meeting targets for woodland expansion in the UK, especially England, say the Woodland Trust. 

The Government has set itself a target of establishing 30,000 ha of new woodland in England by 2025 as outlined in the 2020 budget statement. The figures are associated with the Government’s commitment to the Committee on Climate Change’s net zero projections advocating the need for 30,000 ha of new trees being established in the UK every year to 2050, to take woodland cover in the UK from 13-17%.

Provisional figures published by the Forestry Commission today show:

  • 13,460 hectares of new woodland was created in the UK 2019-20 (2,330 in England, 10,860 in Scotland, 200 in Northern Ireland, 80 in Wales)
  • Over 80% of new planting in the UK in 2019-20 took place in Scotland
  • Of planting in England in 2019-20, 2,100ha were broadleaf and 230 conifer
  • Between 2016-2020, 7,220 ha of new woodland was planted in England
  • 13% of the total UK land is woodland (10% in England, 15% in Wales, 19% in Scotland and 9% in Northern Ireland).

The figures come as the Government prepares to consult on a new England Tree Strategy** supported by a £640m Nature for Climate Fund.

Darren Moorcroft, CEO of the Woodland Trust said:

"Despite huge interest in trees and woods, these new statistics show we are a long way from where we need to be. To get us moving in the right direction, the Government's planned England Tree Strategy needs to deliver a bold vision for trees and woods. That means not just more trees in the ground, but planning as part of the landscape, so they deliver for carbon, nature and people, with firm quality not just quantity targets.

“We must also do far more to look after the trees and woods we already have, restoring and protecting our precious ancient woodlands and stopping the risk of imported tree disease by sourcing and growing the trees we plant in this country.

“Action to rebuild our economy and society after the coronavirus epidemic must also invest for the long term in our precious natural environment. Protecting, restoring and expanding native tree cover – with all the social, economic and environmental benefits that will bring - belongs at the heart of any ‘green recovery’ worthy of the name.

“We also need to strengthen supply chains so we can make good on commitments to expand trees and woodlands to 2050 and beyond.”

The Woodland Trust continues to play its part. During the 2019/2020 planting season, the Trust planted and supported the planting of 1.46m trees, creating some 805 hectares of woodland across the UK. It also supported the additional planting of 1.59m trees through its free tree packs for schools and community groups and through the sale of native trees through its online shop. In England, the Trust planted over 330 hectares of native woodland.

 

 

England

Wales

Scotland

Northern Ireland

UK

 

New planting by forest type

       

 

 

Conifers

0.23

0.04

7.24

0.06

7.57

 

Broadleaves

2.10

0.04

3.61

0.14

5.89

 

All new planting

2.33

0.08

10.86

0.20

13.46

 

New planting by ownership

       

 

 

FC/FLS/NRW/FS1

0.09

0.00

0.27

0.05

0.41

 

Private sector2

2.24

0.08

10.59

0.15

13.05

 

All new planting

2.33

0.08

10.86

0.20

13.46

 

Figures show thousands of hectares

Source: Forestry Commission, Scottish Forestry, Forestry and Land Scotland, Natural Resources Wales, Forest Service, grant schemes

 

 

 

New planting 2010-2020

         

 

Year

England

Wales

Scotland

Northern Ireland

UK

 

 

 

2010

2.29

0.22

2.72

0.21

5.44

 

 

 

2011

2.53

0.30

6.02

0.25

9.10

 

 

 

2012

2.67

0.76

9.03

0.31

12.76

 

 

 

2013

2.59

0.91

7.04

0.25

10.79

 

 

 

2014

3.34

0.93

8.33

0.29

12.89

 

 

 

2015

2.43

0.10

7.56

0.21

10.30

 

 

 

2016

0.82

0.11

4.63

0.05

5.61

 

 

 

2017

1.15

0.41

4.76

0.21

6.52

 

 

 

2018

1.50

0.20

7.14

0.21

9.05

 

 

 

2019

1.42

0.67

11.21

0.24

13.54

 

 

 

2020

2.33

0.08

10.86

0.20

13.46

 

 

 

Figures show thousands of hectares

Source: Forestry Commission, Forestry England, Scottish Forestry, Forestry and Land Scotland,

Natural Resources Wales, Welsh Government, Forest Service, grant schemes.

                                                        

 

 

 

 

 

Notes to editors

For more information contact Steve Marsh at the Woodland Trust on 07971 164 517 or stevemarsh@woodlandtrust.org.uk  Interviews available on request.

About the Woodland Trust

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:  

  1. protect ancient woodland which is rare, unique and irreplaceable
  2. restoration of damaged ancient woodland, bringing precious pieces of our natural history back to life
  3. 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 1,200 sites in its care covering approximately 29,000 hectares. Access to its woods is free so everyone can benefit from woods and trees.

*Figures from Provisional Woodland Statistics 2020

https://www.forestresearch.gov.uk/tools-and-resources/statistics/statistics-by-topic/woodland-statistics/

**The Government's plans for a new England Tree Strategy and Nature for Climate Fund were confirmed in the 2020 Budget Statement https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/budget-speech-2020