What would the Woodland Trust like a new Government to do in its first 100 days?
Woods and trees are a cost effective policy solution which delivers a unique range of benefits to local communities and should therefore be at the very heart of a recovery for all. They enhance new developments, increase property values and help shape communities where people want to live and where businesses want to invest. They also contribute to negating aspects of our changing climate, such as flooding and air pollution, whilst helping keep our towns and cities cool. We call upon Government to adopt our ambition for a 20 per cent tree canopy cover to enhance all new publicly funded developments, including the proposed Garden Cities – thus ensuring that the extensive benefits of woods and trees are maximised for all communities.
We call on this new Government to urgently review the currently flawed protection afforded to ancient woodland within the National Planning Policy Framework, which is putting this precious habitat at significant risk. This would enable local authorities to incorporate much greater protection of this irreplaceable habitat into their Local Plans and Core Strategies, and retain these much cherished environmental assets.
Finally, we would like to see a new Government reconfigure the design and provision of land management grants for trees, woods and forests. In a rapidly changing world, it is essential to create local landscapes which are resilient to the environmental and economic challenges of the future. Greater support should therefore be given to schemes that create and enhance habitat networks for wildlife, but which also support sustainable agricultural and forestry production, reduce the risk of flooding and shape healthier towns and neighbourhoods where people will want to live, work and play.