THE SNP has promised that Scotland will continue to lead the UK on woodland creation by increasing targets by 50 per cent if re-elected.

Since 2017, the SNP government has more than doubled Scotland’s annual woodland creation – from 9.5 million trees in 2017 to over 22 million in 2020.

The SNP has said that, if re-elected, it wants to go further by taking the following action:

  • Increase targets for new woodland creation by 50 per cent, from 12,000 hectares up to 18,000 hectares per year by 2025.
  • Provide an additional £150 million over five years to increase new planting, expand Scotland’s national forests and land, and increase nursery stocks.
  • Support crofters and crofting communities to create more woodlands and plant more trees.
  • Ensure that trees, woodlands and natural resources play a key role in flood prevention schemes, in riparian repair activity and to address air pollution.
  • Focus more on urban tree planting, create a presumption against hardscaping of garden space in towns and cities, and incentivise people to grow small trees and create pollinator friendly gardens.
  • Champion the restoration and expansion of Scotland’s rainforest and establish a National Register of Ancient Woodlands and work with owners and agencies to maintain and protect them.
  • Remain committed to a ten year investment of more than £250 million to support the restoration of 250,000 hectares of Scottish peatland by 2030.

READ MORE: £2m fund launched to boost Scottish native woodlands

SNP candidate for Galloway and West Dumfries, Emma Harper, commented: “Having Galloway Forest on my doorstep has been a blessing. Ensuring our lands are rich in woodlands is a priority for the SNP as not only is it vital for people’s good health, but also in our aim to tackle climate change.

“Scotland has an impressive international record on tree-planting, peat restoration and tackling climate change.

“We carry out 80 per cent of all tree-planting in the UK, were the first country to sign up to the Bonn Agreement and our investment of over £250 million into forestry has helped unlock a further £140 million of private investment, is enabling the creation of almost 50 new jobs for young people, has helped restore over 6,500 hectares of peatland, and created renewable energy infrastructure to supply enough energy to power over 600,000 homes.

“If re-elected we will go even further by creating 18,000 hectares per year by 2025, investing an extra £500 million to tackle the biodiversity crisis, and support the restoration of 250,000 hectares of Scottish peatland by 2030 - a vital nature based solution to protecting biodiversity and ending our contribution to climate change, as well as creating jobs.

“It is now incumbent on the UK government to match Scotland’s ambition on woodland creation and show that – on the run up to COP26 which will be held in Glasgow - it is taking seriously the very real threat that climate change presents to our very existence.

“However, given the Tories at Westminster are more interested in investing in weapons of mass destruction than in solutions to tackle the climate crisis, it is clear that it is only by voting SNP on 6th May that we can secure a green recovery for Scotland and ensure we remain world-leading in woodland creation.”

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