THE UK Government's latest confirmation that it is committed to planting 30,000 ha of new woodland annually by 2025 has been welcomed by forest and wood industry body Confor.

A £92 million funding pot, part of the £640 million Nature for Climate Fund, was announced for 2021–22 by chancellor Rishi Sunak.

The funding announcement said the money would "keep us on track to restore more peatlands and plant 30,000 hectares of trees a year by the end of this Parliament".

Stuart Goodall, CEO of Confor, said: "This is good news, in that it reaffirms the commitment to the ambitious 30,000 hectare planting target.

"However, we won’t hit the target without planting larger areas of woodland, which will only happen in rural areas, and that doesn’t just need funding, but also a change in culture and slicker delivery.

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"We need to recognise tree planting as a huge positive – to help meet our climate change obligations and to support a green recovery in our rural areas.  

"In terms of delivery, Confor wants the current costly, complex and cumbersome procedures for planting to be streamlined, to reduce cost and time and to give people confidence to plant." 

Mr Goodall added: "We also need the constituent parts of the UK to work together and agree targets."

Confor has called for co-ordination of UK-wide targets in its response to the EFRA committee inquiry into tree planting. Currently, there is no specific target for England. 

Confor's response also calls for a review of UK planting procedures, similar to the Mackinnon review, credited with driving up planting in Scotland, where 80 per cent of UK trees are currently planted.

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