Spending on trees 25 times lower in England than in Scotland

Westminster’s strategy for creating more woodland has a huge imbalance. It’s failing to do nearly enough in England, while leaving Scotland to do the heavy lifting.
  Published:  21 Apr 2020    |      1 minute read

Grant spending on trees & woodlands per person is 25 times lower in England than in Scotland

Danny Gross, trees campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said:

“Westminster’s strategy for creating more woodland has a huge imbalance. It’s failing to do nearly enough in England, while leaving Scotland to do the heavy lifting.

“Growing more trees is a key part of fighting the climate crisis, so the government really needs to step up. At the moment it stands to miss even its own meagre manifesto commitment on trees. The upcoming English Tree Strategy is a big opportunity to turn this around so must focus on boosting spending on trees in England. We know that England has the land to double tree cover, it’s just the political will that’s lacking.” Notes:

  • In 2018-2019, £20.5 million was spent on woodland grants in England, which is the second lowest amount in the past 10 years, according to the government’s latest forestry statistics (p135 of Forestry Statistics 2019). In contrast, £50.2 million was spent on woodland grants in Scotland.
  • In 2018-2019, grant spending on trees & woodlands per person was 25 times higher in Scotland than England.
    • In Scotland, spending was £9.23 per person.
    • In England, spending was £0.37 per person.
  • The Budget promised that 30,000 hectares of trees would be planted in England over the next 5 years, which is 6,000 hectares per year (full Budget document here). This is only 20% of the government’s manifesto commitment (see p43) to “reach an additional 75,000 acres [30,000 hectares] of trees a year by the end of the next Parliament”. This would leave Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales to grow 80% of our new trees.
  • In 2018-19, Scotland created 8 times more woodland than England, despite England being a lot larger than Scotland (p27 of Forestry Statistics 2019).
    • Scotland created 11,210 hectares of new woodland.
    • England created 1,420 hectares of new woodland.
  • 19% of Scotland is already covered in Woodlands, compared to just 10% in England (p3 of Forestry Statistics 2019).