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A landmark was reached in securing a green future for England's trees, woods and forests today, 15 December 2008, with the commitment to co-ordinated action from people who believe in creating sustainable woodlands, resilient to climate change, that will deliver real benefits for people, business and wildlife.
The Forestry Commission and Natural England have joined forces with more than 100 organisations, representing woodland owners, forestry businesses, conservation and local communities to create a new 5-year action plan for trees and woodlands in England.
The ultimate goal is that by around 2020 management of the both small, private woods and large commercial forestry will provide greater use of home-grown wood in construction and woodfuel, a healthier landscape for wildlife and an increase in people visiting woodlands for leisure and tourism. The local environment and local communities will be improved with more, high-quality, wooded greenspace close to where people live and a revival of trees in our streets.
Forestry Minister, Huw Irranca-Davies, said:
“There are more than a million hectares of woodland and forest in England today. Trees make a big difference to people’s quality of life and wellbeing, improving the places where we live, work and play. People need to be able to get involved in planning, managing and looking after their local woodlands and trees, and the plan launched today will help us to make the most of our trees to combat climate change, protect wildlife, and yield other social, economic and environmental benefits.
Forestry Commission Chairman, Lord Clark of Windermere, said:
“These are important and exciting times for trees, woods and forests in England as they face the challenges of climate change while providing a range of benefits to people, wildlife and to our economy. This new plan is testament to those people representing landowners, businesses, communities, local councils and government who worked together to secure the future for our trees, woods and forests.”
Sir Martin, Doughty Chair of Natural England, said:
“Trees and woodland have a crucial role to play in providing benefits for wildlife, the economy and for people’s quality of life. These benefits are increasingly being recognised, but they can only be secured through careful long term planning and co-ordinated action. Today’s Delivery Plan has been created through working closely with a wide range of organisations and local communities and marks a major step forward in securing a sustainable future for our woodlands.”
Contacts: Forestry Commission - Stuart Burgess, 01223 346027
Natural England - Press Office, 0845 6039953
Defra - Kevan McClair, 020 7238 5391
NOTES TO EDITOR
1. The Delivery Plan for England's Trees, Woods and Forests and the current list of actions are available to download from www.forestry.gov.uk/etwf
2. The Forestry Commission manages forests and woodlands across England for conservation, recreation and timber production. It is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment www.forestry.gov.uk/england
3. Natural England works for people, places and nature to conserve and enhance biodiversity, landscapes and wildlife in rural, urban, coastal and marine areas. We conserve and enhance the natural environment for its intrinsic value, the wellbeing and enjoyment of people, and the economic prosperity it brings www.naturalengland.org.uk
4. As at March 2008 there was 761,000ha of broadleaf and 366,000ha of coniferous woodland in England.