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Less than half of annual tree-planting target in England met, say MPs

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The government has met less than half of its annual tree-planting target in England, MPs have found, putting net zero ambitions at risk.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) this year published what it called “ambitious” nature targets, a requirement under the Environment Act, including the goal of planting 30,000 hectares of woodland by March 2025. A report by the environmental audit committee (EAC) of cross-party MPs has found that this target was unlikely to be met.

While the public sector is responsible for only a quarter of UK woodland, the report found there was not enough direction from the government for the private sector, which faces “unclear strategies and overly bureaucratic schemes”.

Tree planting is crucial for meeting carbon and biodiversity targets, as well as for sustainability in the building industry. The EAC report says UK-sourced timber will help meet the growing demand for low-carbon construction materials.

It adds that a significant expansion of woodland cover is required to compensate for predicted shortfalls in the supply of…

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