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Manchester Friends of the Earth response to the English Tree Strategy consultation

The government recently held a public consultation on its new England Tree Strategy – a crucial policy on the future of trees in England. Friends of the Earth argues that we need this new strategy to double tree cover if we’re to create new habitats for wildlife and remove enough carbon dioxide from the air to tackle the climate and nature crisis.

But the government’s proposed strategy is nowhere near good enough. It fails to set a tree target for England, and its proposals would at best increase tree cover from 10% to just 12% by 2050.

Manchester Friends of the Earth responded to the consultation. See below for a summary of our key asks:

  • We demand a clear target with a robust timeline to double tree cover in England 
  • How we achieve this target is important: We support approaches including development of woodland, sustainable commercial forestry, natural regeneration and agroforestry (orchards, shelter-belts, hedgerows). We do not support biomass crops. 
  • We propose that landowners, including local authorities, be supported to plant more trees by providing them with more expert advice, ensuring local plans include clear guidance for how tree planting should be achieved, and that tree planting plans are robust, detailed, have a long term view and are adequately funded. 
  • We propose that landowners be supported to maintain adequately the stock of trees they hold, with support, training and funding. 
  • We propose that forestry should be supported via requirements in procurement policy to prioritise sustainable wood products and the provision of low-cost loans so that manufacturers can switch to wood-based fabrication and landowners can set up co-ops for the processing and marketing of wood products.
  • We propose involving the community more actively and providing education and opportunities to contribute to increased tree numbers across the country.
  • We demand funding of £500m per year to achieve this goal, which is 10 times more than is currently spent.

Download the full Manchester Friends of the Earth consultation response (pdf)

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