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The government’s tree-planting programme

The government has committed to increasing tree-planting rates across the UK to 30,000 hectares (or 90-120 million trees) a year by the end of this Parliament as part of its May 2021 England Trees Action Plan 2021 to 2024. It also plans to tackle biodiversity loss and achieve net zero by 2050.  

HM Treasury has allocated a total of £625 million to fund new tree-planting as part of a Nature for Climate Fund (NCF) and aims to plant more than 40 million trees in England by 2025, enough to cover an area the size of Birmingham. This is only part of the potential funding: Defra will need to attract substantial investment from the private sector if it is to achieve the government’s long-term ambitions for tree-planting.

This study examines:

  • the progress Defra has made to date in increasing tree-planting;
  • how well Defra is managing the programme; and
  • how Defra is set up to achieve the longer-term benefits, including the contribution of tree-planting to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.