Not only are trees and woodlands vital to the provision of timber, but creating new woodland is also widely agreed to be crucial for the UK to meet its 2050 net zero target and nature recovery targets, says the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee, members of which visited Ransfords earlier this year during its evidence gathering. Trees and woodlands play an important role in providing other ecosystem services including climate regulation, soil conservation, the removal of air pollution and urban cooling.
The report also concludes that UK-sourced timber will help meet the growing demand for low-carbon construction materials. However, it suggests that a significant expansion of woodland cover is required to compensate for predicted shortfalls in the supply of domestically produced softwood timber and to deliver the UK’s climate and environment goals. At present, the rate of planting is less than half of the government’s target.
The chair of the committee, Ludlow MP Philip Dunne, said: “The government’s target to plant 30,000 hectares of woodland in the UK by March 2025 is welcome, and by and large ministers appreciate the conflicting challenges and demands on woodland. But the committee is concerned that England is currently way off meeting its contribution to that UK-wide goal, and that the rate of planting must increase.”
Mr Dunne added: “At the moment there are simply too many overlapping strategies that aim to cover tree-planting policies in the UK and in England, and there is little evidence of an overall vision for the timber sector. The numerous strategies are disjointed: what is required is an overarching, holistic strategy that sets a long-term vision for how different types of woodland will be used to deliver government’s goals.”
The full report can be downloaded here