January 2020

A new APPG for a new era

After a turbulent year for government in 2019, woods and trees are firmly back on the agenda. A New Year heralded a new start for the APPG for Ancient Woodlands and Veteran Trees as members voted to:

  • elect a new chair, Alex Chalk MP
  • elect a new vice-chair, Mike Hill MP
  • re-elect two other vice-chairs, Dame Cheryl Gillan MP and Michael Fabricant MP.

There was also a crucial name change for the APPG as it expands its remit to ensure it can respond to the challenges of a changing world. Relaunched as the APPG for Woods and Trees, its additional mission is to raise awareness of the UK’s woods and trees. The group will now discuss the steps necessary to protect, restore and expand them in a time of climate and nature crises.

Record attendance thanks to our supporters

The APPG was the best-attended meeting yet with 21 MPs and 3 peers. Four other MPs expressed desire to be members although they were unable to attend. The meeting welcomed MPs from Scotland, Wales and England, and both urban and rural constituencies.

It’s testament to the fantastic work of our supporters that so many MPs from a variety of constituencies turned out. Some of them cited the large number of emails they had received after more than 1,800 of you joined our campaign and encouraged your MP to attend. Thank you to everyone that took part.

Discussion points

Our new Emergency Tree Plan was introduced, alongside a Q&A from its authors. This enabled MPs and peers to better understand the plan and why it’s such an important document for the future of trees and woods in the UK.

An update was given on recent work with local authorities. Members were impressed with progress as many authorities have set ambitious tree planting targets.

The group was also updated on existing threats to ancient woods, including HS2 and the Oxford-Cambridge Expressway.

Emergency Tree Plan cover

Policy paper

Emergency Tree Plan for the UK

PDF  (9.63 MB)

How to increase tree cover and address the nature and climate emergency. We set out key recommendations for the UK's national and local governments.

Read our Emergency Tree Plan

Next steps

After these discussions, members resolved to:

  • ask parliamentary questions over the threats facing woods and trees
  • secure a debate in advance of the upcoming England Tree Strategy to influence outcomes
  • table amendments to forthcoming environmental legislation to better protect, restore and expand native woods and trees.

The next meeting will be held in early summer. With your support, we can continue to swell the attendance and influence of the group.

Attendees: 

  • Mel Addis (for Cheryl Gillan – vice chair), Chesham and Amersham
  • Simon Baynes, Clwyd South
  • Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle
  • Olivia Blake, Sheffield Hallam
  • Steven Bonnar, Coatsbridge, Chryston and Bellshill
  • Fiona Bruce, Congleton
  • Alixe Buckerfield de la Roche, Chief of Staff to House of Lords Generals
  • Rob Butler, Aylesbury
  • Alex Chalk (chair), Cheltenham
  • Ronnie Cowan, Inverclyde
  • Ben Everitt, Milton Keynes North
  • Michael Fabricant (vice chair), Lichfield
  • Lord Framlingham
  • Lillian Greenwood, Nottingham South
  • Jane Hunt, Loughbrough
  • Ruth Jones, Newport West
  • Ben Lake, Ceredigion
  • Kerry McCarthy, Bristol East
  • Jason McCartney, Colne Valley
  • Navendu Mishra, Stockport
  • Caroline Nokes, Romsey and Southampton
  • Owen Paterson, North Shropshire
  • David Rutley, Macclesfield
  • Barry Sheerman, Huddersfield
  • Baroness Young of Old Scone
APPG members pose for photo

Credit: WTML

March 2019

John Grogan MP (Labour) was elected new vice chair and Alex Chalk MP (Conservative) was elected vice-chair. The APPG was updated on:

  • efforts to fund ancient woodland mapping with the Ancient Woodland Inventory (England) Bill, presented to Parliament by APPG member Michael Fabricant MP in January. 
  • how improved protection through the revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) has made a difference
  • the need for more scrutiny of the Oxford-Cambridge Expressway, which threatens at least 383 ancient woods within 2km of the route corridor.

MPs and Woodland Trust staff pose for photo

Credit: Victoria Bankes Price / WTML

October 2018

Rebecca Pow was re-elected as chair and Angela Smith, Michael Fabricant and David Warburton as vice chairs.

The group then discussed how emerging biosecurity threats could impact ancient woods and trees and the need for greater support for the Ancient Woodland Inventory. It also considered how ancient woods will be affected by the £4bn Oxford-Cambridge Expressway, and the number of ancient woods threatened by HS2 plans increasing to 108.

Dominic Raab and Rebecca Pow stand next to a banner about protecting ancient trees

Credit: WTML

April 2018

With Housing Minister Dominic Raab in attendance, MPs took the opportunity to press home the importance of stronger protection for ancient trees and woods.

Close up of two hands meeting against a tree trunk

Credit: Chris Marsh / WTML

July 2017

This meeting focused on changing planning rules to make the loss or deterioration of ancient woodland ‘wholly exceptional’.

The Government had promised to strengthen protection for ancient woodland in its Housing White Paper, a pledge backed by over 15,000 members of the public.

The APPG agreed a number of actions to ensure this was delivered. Rebecca Pow was re-elected as Chair. 

Gnarly, moss covered woodlands with trees lining a rocky stream

Credit: Philip Formby / WTML

December 2016

At this AGM, SNP MP, John McNally was elected co-chair alongside existing chair Rebecca Pow. Mims Davies MP was also elected as vice-chair.

We presented the results of our survey to planners on ancient woodland which resulted in some interesting and lively discussion.

Woodland Trust president Clive Anderson smiling while standing next to a tree

Credit: Dominic Nicholls Photography / WTML

March 2016

Our president, Clive Anderson, captivated members as the keynote speaker. Following an update from chair, Rebecca Pow MP, Clive talked about his love for trees and woods and why it’s vital legislators recognise their importance and protect them for future generations.

Explore more of our policy work