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Latest Welsh tree strategy calls for greater cover

Words: Roger Milne
Trees / Shutterstock: 419496319

Woodland cover across Wales should increase by at least 2,000 hectares each year from 2020 to 2030, according to the country’s latest updated tree strategy published this week by environment minister Hannah Blythyn.

The administration has stressed that planning policy should reflect the need for compensatory planting when permanent removal of woodland is permitted for development.

The 60-page blueprint highlights the need for more trees in the wider environment, on farms and the rural landscape and in and around towns and cities.

Priority will be given to creating both new native and new mixed woodlands. In general woodland creation will reflect the need to protect semi-natural habitats, historic features and characteristic landscapes.

The strategy includes a strong presumption against the permanent removal of woodland except for the restoration of high priority open habitats and to meet the requirements of the Environment (Wales) Act.

The UK Climate Change Committee has told the Welsh administration that its tree planting drive should continue at a similar level between 2030 and 2050 and has suggested a “maximum scenario” might be required which would involve a doubling of the planting rate as part of measures to meet decarbonisation targets.

The minister insisted that the updated blueprint was “a bold strategy which reflects the diversity of opportunity our woodlands and trees offer and the essential part they play in our lives.

“I am determined that people who want to plant trees have certainty about the kind of woodland we need and the places where trees can be planted.  In the right place, it should be straightforward to plant the right tree. 

“We need more woodlands and trees to help us manage all our natural resources sustainably, and which will contribute to our long-term goal of becoming a more circular economy.” 

Image credit | Shutterstock