30,000 ha of trees are to be planted every year as part of a new 10-point plan for a ‘green industrial revolution’, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced.

The 10-point plan, which covers key areas including offshore wind, homes and buildings, carbon capture, nature and hydrogen, will utilise £12 billion of government investment with the aim of supporting up to 250,000 highly skilled green jobs in the UK.

Boris Johnson said: “We will turn the UK into the world’s number-one centre for green technology and finance, laying the foundations for decades of economic growth by delivering net-zero emissions in a way that creates jobs and allows us to carry on living our lives.

“And we will harness Mother Nature’s ability to absorb carbon by planting 30,000 hectares of trees a year by 2025 and restore the abundance of nature by rewilding 30,000 football pitches’ worth of countryside.”

READ MORE: 'Significant hurdles' need cleared for planting schemes to be effective, says Ground Control CEO

The PM’s renewed tree-planting commitment was welcomed by Confor. However, the industry body stressed that new figures show how difficult it will be to deliver on these targets.

Stuart Goodall, Confor chief executive, said: “The forestry and wood industry welcomes the Prime Minister’s personal commitment to increase UK tree planting rates to 30,000 hectares each year. This is a huge challenge for the whole of the country and, while some progress has been made, particularly in Scotland, current statistics show just how much needs to change if the UK is going to get to this level by the middle of the decade.

“The Prime Minister’s plan coincides with the publication of statistics showing that in April–September 2020, only 763 hectares of land were newly planted with trees in England.

“Confor has calculated England needs to plant at least 7,500 hectares of new woodland each year if the UK is to meet its overall target. This is roughly 10 times the figure reported by the Forestry Commission, so the scale of the challenge is apparent for anyone to see.”

Mr Goodall added: “Now that the Prime Minister has put his personal authority behind the latest drive as part of his green industrial revolution, it’s more important than ever to get the bureaucracy sorted and ensure all parts of the UK can deliver new planting to benefit the environment, business and the wider community.”

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