The Commons Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs called on ministers to speed up the planting of millions of trees to strengthen the fight against global warming
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A tree-planting team of at least 300 recruits should be set up to help the government meet climate protection targets, MEPs are calling for today.
Ministers will miss their target of creating 30,000 hectares of new woodland in the UK every year by 2025, according to the Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee.
In a report published today, she warns the government “will not meet its target on tree planting – key to achieving the UK’s net-zero, biodiversity and nature restoration targets – unless it provides one.” comprehensive plan to support a larger plantation”.
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England would need to “probably” triple its tree planting rate by 2024 to have any hope of reaching the target, according to MPs.
“A major obstacle to England’s tree-planting ambitions will be the lack of a sufficiently skilled workforce,” their report adds.
“The committee calls on Defra to set up a special task force, including the Ministry of Education, the Forest Commission and training providers, to come up with a clear plan to recruit at least 300 new forest procurement recruits.”
Conservative MP Neil Parish, chairman of the committee, said: “Government really needs to pull itself together.
“As it stands, this plan does not even include annual targets for the number of hectares of new forest to be planted in England.”
“Crucial details” about how the government will increase tree cover “are still missing,” including the “species of trees to be planted, the land they will be planted on and the funding for those projects,” Mr Parish said.
He added: “To expect landowners to move forward without further support is simply not realistic.
“The government needs to show that it is working to demonstrate how planting trees is economically feasible.
“If we want tree planting to pay off, we need clear incentives to act – both through state subsidies for planting and through the sale of wood.”
MPs are also calling on the government to increase the amount of UK-grown timber used in UK construction.
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In 2020, more than 80% was imported.
Mr Parish said: “We should aim to meet all of the UK’s planting needs with domestically grown trees.”
The Mirror’s Million Trees campaign aims to plant one million trees in five years.
The report is published to mark the United Nations International Day for Forests.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/army-tree-planters-needed-help-26513075 "Army of tree planters needed to reach net-zero emissions goal"