UK’s woodland cover ‘could double without impacting important habitats’

Northumberland maintains the largest potential of any UK local authority, with 77,000 hectares of woodland, according to new research

Woodland cover in England could be doubled from the current national level of 10%, without impact on high-value arable farmland, priority habitats, peat bogs or protected nature sites.

That’s according to researchers from the environmental campaigning organisation Friends of the Earth and cartography consultancy Terra Sulis, which have compiled a map showing potential woodland cover across England that shows most of the potential land is pasture.

According to the research, Northumberland maintains the largest potential of any local authority, with 77,000 hectares of potential woodland.

Other top opportunity areas for woodland creation include Cornwall with 73,000 hectares, Shropshire with 47,000 hectares and Eden District with 43,000 hectares.

The analysis of local woodland opportunities also show there is the potential for quadrupling woodland cover in 20 local authority areas.

Danny Gross, Tree Campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said: “Growing more trees would help us fight climate breakdown while enabling more people to access nature in their local area.

“We need more councils to step up and grow more trees, but it’s time that ministers in Westminster offer more funding for climate action at a local level.”

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