Friends of the Earth reaction to announcement on trees and peatland

tree plan just rehashes government’s current unambitious targets, while plans to restore damaged peatlands are still too vague
  Published:  18 May 2021    |      1 minute read
  • Environment group points out that tree plan just rehashes government’s current unambitious targets
  • New target on ending sales of peat for gardening use is good but government has already missed its original one, and plans to restore damaged peatlands are still too vague

Commenting on the England Trees Action Plan, Danny Gross, trees campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said:

“This plan just rehashes the government’s existing unambitious target to raise England’s woodland cover to 12% by mid-century. This target was first set way before Parliament declared a climate emergency, and really needs to be updated.”

“The government needs to set a much more ambitious long-term tree cover target that matches the scale of the climate and nature crisis. This means at least doubling tree cover, but not at the cost of other natural habitats like peatland or wildflower meadows, and supporting farmers to grow more trees.”

Tell the UK government to double tree cover to help tackle the climate emergency.

Commenting on the Peat Action Plan for England, Paul de Zylva, nature campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said:

“The nation’s peatlands have an amazing ability to absorb carbon and support nature, which makes them an important natural solution to the climate and nature crisis. This plan looks encouraging and could be worth the wait, with an end to the selling of peat for gardening use in sight. A decade ago Ministers pledged to end peat sales by 2020, but they must now hit their new 2024 target date and not let things drift again.

“We may also be closer to an end to the reckless burning of peat moorlands. But plans to restore damaged peatlands are still too vague. Restoration is needed at scale now to stop carbon leaking back into the atmosphere – which just undermines the government’s efforts against climate breakdown."