England tree strategy, new CTI Chair, and relaunch of #ClimateConversations

England tree strategy, new CTI Chair, and relaunch of #ClimateConversations


The Government has released its highly anticipated England Trees Action Plan; and on its face, I am pleased to see some encouraging words, funding, and crucially; recognition of the importance of the timber supply chain to support our forests.

The Climate Change Committee set the bar when they said to achieve the Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions target by 2050 we must increase UK forestry cover from 13% to at least 17% by 2050 by planting around 30,000 hectares (90 – 120 million trees).

The Government has stepped up by committing to this tree planting target and announcing an intention to spend over £500 million of the £640 million Nature for Climate Fund on trees and woodlands in England between 2020 and 2025 to support this ambition.

However, in the words of George Eustice, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, ‘it is not just about funding the trees and woodlands of tomorrow but supporting their long term management and protection.’ Good governance is essential to sustaining forests in the long term, and the Government must follow through.

This includes in the actions from this strategy to increase demand for sustainably sourced timber through procurement policies, encourage research into barriers to the wider uptake of timber, and work with key construction stakeholders to develop a policy roadmap on the use of timber. We will be monitoring their progress closely.

This brings me to another important piece of news. Alex Goodfellow, managing director of Stewart Milne, is stepping up to take on the Confederation of Timber Industries (CTI) Chair role. This comes ahead of the anticipated relaunch of the APPG for the Timber Industries with the inaugural Annual General Meeting being planned for 28 June.

Our thanks to Roy Wakeman OBE, who is stepping down from the role, for his tireless work at the CTI to position timber as the future of sustainable construction; which undoubtedly leaves us well positioned to help the UK move closer towards net zero. Keep an eye on this space for more news on the CTI in the near future.

Finally, I want to invite you all to attend the Conversations about Climate Change exhibition in the Building Centre, which can now be viewed in person. This is a really exciting piece of work highlighting the possibilities of working with sustainably sourced tropical timbers – do make sure you plan a visit when you are next in London.

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