The England Tree Strategy is a great opportunity to increase and enhance the delivery of trees in our urban and rural landscapes.

Oak and poplar woodland. © Harry Watkins

The Landscape Institute (LI) has responded to Defra’s consultation on the England Tree Strategy (ETS).

The Strategy seeks to create a policy framework that will help deliver on the government’s tree planting pledges. It focuses on expanding, protecting and improving woodlands, and how trees and woodlands deliver for climate.

The Strategy is an opportunity to show that trees and woods are not one-dimensional carbon sinks, but a key part of landscapes, forming nature recovery networks and delivering for people, place and nature in towns and cities.

While we welcomed the opportunity to respond, the LI shared concerns with cross-sector partners about the limited framework and consultation style. In July, a number of allied stakeholders wrote to Lord Goldsmith outlining these concerns.

A large number of our members contributed to this work. We’d like to thank our members not only for informing the LI’s final response, but also taking the time to complete many individual responses.

Key principles the England Tree Strategy should deliver:

  1. Deliver woodlands and forests at a landscape scale using a more sophisticated, landscape-led approach to planting. Planted strategically, woodlands can reduce flood risks, increase biodiversity, and provide for recreation.
  2. The new scheme(s) must have the ambition to capture broader concepts: better, more connected forests and woodlands with nature recovery at the heart of planting. The Strategy must be about more than just numbers.
  3. When delivering new woodland, involve landscape professionals early on, and make them central in the process. Utilising landscape skills early can ensure that the right trees are planted in the right places, delivering mosaics of nature-rich landscapes and resilient, functioning ecosystems.
  4. Embed the strategy within wider government frameworks such as planning, development, Environmental Land Management Schemes (ELMS), and infrastructure delivery.
  5. Focus more strongly on urban trees and the huge benefits they can deliver for cities and towns.

See the LI’s full response here. We also submitted an electronic response to the formal consultation.

For more information, please contact the LI policy team at policy@landscapeinstitute.org.

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