Tree planting at 'an all time low'
By Claire Marshall BBC Environment Correspondent
- 1 hour ago
- From the section Science & Environment
The Woodland Trust says only around a million and a half trees were planted - the target was around 10 million.
Official figures released today by the Forestry Commission show that the government is falling far short of its own tree-planting targets.
The Woodland Trust says that the "drastic decline" in new woodland planting is "appalling" and could have serious environmental consequences.
It accused government of missing its target in England by 86%.
The environment department, Defra, said it was committed to growing woodland cover.
Data published today by the Forestry Commission, the government body responsible for expanding Britain's woodlands, shows that 700 hectares (seven km2) of woodland was planted in England last year. The goal was to plant 5000 (50 km2).
Austin Brady from the Woodland Trust, said: "These figures are all the more shocking against the backdrop of the growing evidence of the importance of trees and woods in tackling air pollution, improving water quality and offering scope to deliver natural flood management.
However, Mr Brady said: "There have been lots of really interesting and well-informed conversations - all the signals are positive, but the system of delivering the grants and getting things moving on the ground is not matching up with the fine words. It is not fit for purpose."
The UK is one of the least wooded nations in Europe. Only 10% of England is covered in trees. Average woodland cover in the EU is 37%.
Government funding has been made available but grant schemes for planting trees changed last year.